Melbourne Cup prospect, German import Schabau, will have his second Australian start at Flemington.
The path to the Melbourne Cup continues for lightly raced German import Schabau when he has his second Australian start at Flemington.
Trained by Robert Hickmott who has won two Melbourne Cups, Schabau made a winning introduction to Australian racing at Flemington on January 1.
The four-year-old scored a narrow but impressive win in a 2000m benchmark 70 race and Hickmott is keen to see what the horse produces again on Saturday in the Lawn Handicap over the same course and distance, for which he is a short-priced favourite.
Hickmott scratched Schabau from a race at Caulfield two weeks ago, erring on the side of caution when the horse suffered a minor muscle strain in his hip region, which the trainer said was rectified in 48 hours.
“I decided to just hold him back for this race and he’s a fitter horse six weeks further on from his first-up run,” Hickmott said.
“It was a good win first-up with 60 kilos from a wide draw and never closer than three off the fence, although that suits those horses from Europe.
“There’s a lot of upside with him and I’m looking forward to Saturday.”
Hickmott was formerly head trainer for prominent owner Lloyd Williams at Macedon Lodge, preparing Cup winners Green Moon (2012) and Almandin (2016).
He has high hopes for Schabau as a staying prospect but admits he is still learning about the horse.
“Obviously there’s a long way to go and we’ll find out a bit more about him on Saturday,” Hickmott said.
“I think he’s in the mould of a Melbourne Cup horse.
“He’s got a great lung capacity.
“The Bart Cummings will be the race we set him for next spring and hopefully we can get into the Cup that way, as we did with Almandin in 2016, and try to beat the handicapper.
“You only get that one chance at beating the handicapper and those exempt races are the way to do it I think.”
The winner of The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington in the spring earns a ballot exemption into the Melbourne Cup.