German import Mawingo, who makes his his Australian debut for new trainer Anthony Freedman on Saturday, has replaced Under The Hat as favourite for the Muscular Dystrophy Australia Plate.
TAB Sportsbet opened Mawingo at $5 for the 1600m event at Flemington but good support has forced his price in to $4, while Under The Hat has eased slightly from $4.80 to $5 with Booklet, $6 out to $6.50, next in the market.
Connections are planning to give Mawingo, a Tertullian four-year-old, a run in Sydney after this race and the Group One Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 28 hasn’t been ruled out.
He would then go to Brisbane for the Queensland winter carnival to try to qualify for a Melbourne Cup start this spring.
Mawingo, who will be ridden by Daniel Moor from barrier eight, was bought by Luke Murrell’s Australian Bloodstock syndicate following the success of another German import Lucas Cranach who was fifth in the Caulfield Cup and third in the Melbourne Cup last spring.
The Freedman-trained Lucas Cranach returned to win the Group Two Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield before going amiss with a leg injury.
Mawingo has had seven starts in two countries for two wins and three placings.
He won the Group Three Bavarian Classic (2000m) at Munich in May last year before finishing fourth to Waldpark in the Group One German Derby (2400m) at Hamburg in July.
Mawingo ran third at Group Three level over 2000m at Frankfurt and at his last start against older horses ran fifth to Zazou in the Group One Premio Roma (2000m) in Italy in November.
Meanwhile, trainer John Sadler says he is very happy with Under The Hat who is coming back in distance after pulling up sore when unplaced in the Albury Cup (2000m).
The Helenus five-year-old, sent out favourite at Albury before finishing sixth to Extra Zero, has drawn barrier 15.
But to offset the wide draw the gelding will be ridden by Danny Nikolic.
“We’ve freshened him right up. He pulled up very sore after his run at Albury,” Sadler told Radio Sport National.
“I’m pretty happy with the horse. He was smart yesterday (Tuesday) morning, fresh and well, and I’m hopeful you’ll see the true Under The Hat on Saturday.”
Under The Hat races well on his home track at Flemington where he has had five starts for a win and three placings.
Three starts back he beat subsequent winners Chasse and Over Quota over 1720m on February 18 while at his next appearance he was runner-up to Coldens Choice over 2000m, both at headquarters.