Matthew Dunn is confident the inform Cepheus can concede weight to all his rivals and win the $3 million Big Dance (1600m) after drawing barrier one for Tuesday’s feature at Randwick.
Having qualified for the race in July when winning the South Grafton Cup carrying 62kg, Cepheus will carry the same weight at Randwick after winning twice more since, once at Group 2 level.A last-start winner of the Alan Brown Stakes, Cepheus missed his final lead up run in the Filante Handicap, won by Unspoken, but Dunn isn’t concerned and neither is the market, holding him as a narrow $5 favourite from Iknowastar (53kg) at $5.50.
“He had that little setback but at the end of the day, it was nothing of any significance. We did all the scans and x-rays we could to make sure he is right and he is, he’s one hundred per cent,” Dunn said.
“He has trialled since that and his work Tuesday morning was as good as I’ve ever seen him work in his life.”
Having won aboard Cepheus at his past two starts, regular jockey Nash Rawiller will again ride, with the horse again drawing inside having jumped from barrier two at his past two outings, something Dunn is thrilled about.
“That’s perfect. It’s where we want to be,” Dunn said.
“(Barrier) One is the best and they get worse from there.”
While the barrier may have been kind, Dunn admits that the weight could be starting to catch up to Cepheus, who will concede between four and ten kilograms to the rest of the field.
“It’s always an issue with 62 kilos on his back, particularly given most of the field are carrying 54 and we’re giving them all eight or nine kilos,” Dunn said.”But I think he can get it done. I don’t think that’s enough to stop him the way he is at the moment, particularly from that gate. Nash will do his thing and the horse will do the rest.”
“He is bouncing, he’s really happy. He is going into this race probably as good as I’ve ever had him for any race.”