Group One winner Almalad has had his first look at Moonee Valley as trainer Gai Waterhouse continues to eye a possible Cox Plate start for the three-year-old.
Almalad, the J J Atkins Stakes winner from last season, was taken to Moonee Valley on Monday morning and worked solo ahead of his next start in Friday night’s Group Two Stutt Stakes at the track.
His opposition on Friday is set to include Caulfield Guineas favourite Chivalry and possibly the talented Zebulon, but Waterhouse is unfazed.
“He’ll hold his own. You don’t have to worry about Almalad,” Waterhouse said.
Almalad has had two starts as a three-year-old and finished fourth in the Group One Golden Rose second-up.
He steps up to 1600m in the Stutt Stakes, a race Waterhouse has won the past two years with Pierro and Divine Calling, ahead of the Caulfield Guineas.
“I think you’ll see the best of him now that he’s down here,” Waterhouse said.
Almalad is nominated for the Cox Plate and Waterhouse believes he can be a contender.
“It depends on how he goes in the Guineas,” Waterhouse said.
“But if he runs as I hope he will on Friday night and in the Guineas, I think he should be right in the Cox Plate.”
Steven Arnold rode Almalad in his gallop at Moonee Valley and the gelding was clocked at 1.23.49 for 1200m with his final 400m in 25.60sec.
“Steven Arnold said he had a bit of a look around but he said he had a fabulous stretching action and couldn’t have been more impressed the way the gelding felt,” Waterhouse said.
Tommy Berry is expected to ride Almalad on Friday.
Waterhouse also took four-year-old mare Sweet Idea to Moonee Valley for a solo gallop.
Sweet Idea, described by Waterhouse as a real professional, has been expected to contest Sunday’s Group One Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield but Waterhouse indicated on Monday she was weighing up options.
The mare is also nominated for the Moir Stakes (1200m) on Friday night.
“Will she run Friday night? Will she run Sunday? I’ve just got to see,” Waterhouse said.
“A lot of the owners have booked their trips already. I’ll just try to work out what is best for the mare, and what is best for the owners.”
Sweet Idea finished second to Dissident in the Group One Memsie Stakes (1400m) last start.