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Melbourne Cup winner nearing a return

6 February 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

Lexus Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip will ramp up preparations for his autumn campaign with a barrier trial this week as connections weigh up the best route to take through the carnival.

Trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace have already given the six-year-old a quiet jump-out at Cranbourne and Australian Bloodstock's Jamie Lovett says the entire is ready to up the ante when he steps out in a 1550m trial at the same venue on Monday. 

"He just followed them around the other day in a trial, he will trial again this week and Ciaron (Maher) said he'd ask him to do a bit more," Lovett said. 

Connections were keen to target the Group 1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill on March 23 with Gold Trip but have been forced into a rethink given the placing of the race on the calendar. 

The Tancred is one week after the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) on March 18 and two weeks before the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 8, which Lovett says has presented a conundrum. 

"The calendar is quite compressed," he said. 

"We were leaning to the Tancred being his grand final but the Tancred pops up before the Queen Elizabeth, so it's hard getting there. 

"When you're coming off a (Melbourne) Cup campaign, you would hold some residual fitness, but you've still got to get the miles into their legs to go to 2400-metres at weight-for-age." - Jamie Lovett - Australian Bloodstock

"We might even have to miss the Tancred and go the traditional Ranvet path, (then) you've got to make a decision whether you go Queen Elizabeth or Sydney Cup." 

The other factor Gold Trip's connections will be taking into account is track conditions. 

The horse's two wins have been on rain-affected surfaces and while he has also performed well on firmer ground, including when finishing an eye-catching fifth to Smokin' Romans in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m), Lovett says they are mindful of doing the best thing by the horse. 

"He ran super in the Turnbull on a good three, but he really enjoys the give in the ground and I want to look after him," Lovett said. 

"I wouldn't be in a hurry to kick him off on a fast track. 

"I would rather wait, even if it meant having a very quiet autumn."

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