Godolphin’s Australian trainer John O’Shea expects to know early in the Caulfield Cup whether Tally has any chance to win.
This year’s Australian Derby minor placegetter has had Saturday’s $3 million handicap over 2400m as a long-range target.
But his hopes were dealt a blow at Tuesday’s barrier draw when he came up with the second outside gate.
“He’s been set for one race and it was a bit of a stub of the toe when the barrier draw came out, but he’ll roll forward and we’ll know our fate in the first 400 metres,,” O’Shea said.
Tally won the Alister Clark Stakes during an autumn winning streak in Melbourne last season before heading to Sydney where he finished third behind Tavago and Jameka in the Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick.
Jameka is the $3.40 Caulfield Cup favourite while Tally, to be ridden by Brenton Avdulla, is at $18.
Tally finished 6-1/2 lengths from star stablemate Hartnell when third in the Group One Turnbull Stakes last start, with runner-up Jameka 3-1/4 lengths behind the winner.
“Once they run a placing in the Derby you”re qualified and you don’t have to worry about getting in,” O’Shea said.
“So we’ve just been able to concentrate on preparing him to run in the race which is a wonderful advantage.”
The royal blue colours of Sheikh Mohammed’s international Godolphin operation were carried to victory in the 2008 Caulfield Cup by the Saeed bin Suroor-trained All The Good.
He was ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, who dons the silks again on Saturday aboard the Charlie Appleby-trained Scottish.
O’Shea rates Scottish as one of the main horses to beat along with local mare Jameka who is trained by Ciaron Maher.
“Scottish has performed really, really well in Europe all year and he’s done well at quarantine,” O’Shea said.
“He’s going to get a gun run from that gate (seven).
“If you go back to his 2015 form at a mile and a half he tested Highland Reel at Goodwood.
“So if he brings that game, he and Jameka are the two to beat.”