Staying mare Averau continues on her path towards the Adelaide Cup when she runs at Flemington on Saturday.
Averau earned her shot at the Group Two Adelaide Cup (3200m) in March when she raced to a dominant victory in the Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day.
Because of the timing between the Bagot and the Adelaide Cup, the five-year-old had a freshen up and drops in distance for the Doriemus Handicap (2000m) on Saturday.
“We thought we would run her over 2000 metres just so it wasn’t too long between runs and the plan is to go three weeks into a 2500-metre Listed race at Moonee Valley and then two and a bit weeks into the Adelaide Cup,” Craig Widdison, who trains the horse in partnership with Peter Morgan, said.
The daughter of Stratum has won four of her past six starts with two wins over 2500m at Moonee Valley before a close second in a Listed 2635m race at Werribee in December.
She then raced away with the Bagot to score by 3-1/2 lengths.
“It’s probably a shame the Adelaide Cup wasn’t two or three weeks after the Bagot because she came through that race terrific,” Widdison said.
Warrnambool Cup winner Akzar, another on the Adelaide Cup path, is the $2.80 favourite for Saturday’s race after his last-start second to Jacquinot Bay over 1600m.
While Widdison acknowledged Averau, who is fourth favourite for Saturday’s race, was in good form he expects the race to be short of her best trip.
“She won’t disgrace herself but you would think she would probably get left flat-footed at some stage and just keep grinding away like she does,” he said.
Meanwhile, another three of the Morgan and Widdison stable’s autumn hopefuls Eloping, Star Rolling and Zebulon will barrier trial at Cranbourne on Thursday.
Eloping is likely to resume in the Group Three Kevin Hayes Stakes at Caulfield on February 14 while Star Rolling could kick off his campaign in the Group One CF Orr Stakes on the same day.