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Morrish eyes off Flemington with stayers

Trainer Simon Morrish is undecided whether last-start Sandown winner Shakopee will take his place in a staying race at Flemington.

But only bad luck will stop stablemate Sir Van Dyke from running in a benchmark race on Saturday’s program.

The UK imports came into Morrish’s care when Matt Cumani was suspended for failing to notify officials of an outbreak of strangles in his Ballarat stable last year.

Both are last-start winners for their caretaker trainer with Shakopee down to run in the North Eastern Region Handicap (2520m) and Sir Van Dyke in the Grampians Region Handicap (2000m).

“I’m 99.9 per cent sure Sir Van Dyke will run while I’m 50-50 at this stage about Shakopee,” Morrish said.

“It was only last week that he won at Sandown and I just want to give him an extra day or two to make sure he’s 100 per cent.”

Shakopee’s race on Saturday is a heat of the Banjo Patterson Series with the 2600m-final at Flemington on July 8.

Morrish says he has spoken with the handicappers and while Shakopee hasn’t contested one of the heats, he may still get a run, even if he misses Saturday.

They told him that traditionally they don’t get a full field for the final.

The Ballarat trainer said he was dipping his toe into the water with Sir Van Dyke.

A last-start winner in benchmark 64 grade, Sir Van Dyke steps up to benchmark 78.

“I thought he was pretty good at Mornington,” Morrish said.

“He had to make a few tactical moves on a turning track which I don’t think suited and he was very good through the line.

“It was only a 64 and we’re stepping to a 78 but to offset that he gets weight relief and a bigger and flatter track.

“We’re putting our toe in the water in a bigger picture to see where we sit.”

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