Trainer Robert Smerdon will let the owners decide the crucial weekend mission for Melbourne Cup aspirant and champion jumper Black And Bent.
Craig Williams has been engaged to ride the Grand National Hurdle winner in Saturday’s Group One Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick but Smerdon will also pay up for the gelding in Sunday’s Listed The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington.
“We are going to declare with him at Flemington tomorrow and at midday make the call which way we go,” Smerdon said.
He said the owners, who include Melbourne Racing Club chairman Mike Symons, wanted to pick the weaker race for Black And Bent who needs to win this weekend to pass the first elimination clause for the Melbourne Cup.
Black And Bent has 50.5kg in the Melbourne Cup and is currently 96th in order of entry.
The Metropolitan and The Bart Cummings winners are liable for a Melbourne Cup re-handicap which Black And Bent desperately needs to give himself a real chance of making the Cup field.
His owners are wary that December Draw and At First Sight are both entered for The Bart Cummings while they are equally concerned that Trusting is a runner in the Metropolitan.
“The owners don’t want to run into December Draw or At First Sight at Flemington but they don’t want to run into Trusting either,” Smerdon said.
“They want to go where there is a bit of cut in the ground too and Flemington will probably get that after the rain we’ve had.
“It is dead-set in the balance which way we will go but I will let them (the owners) call it.”
The decision may be a little easier as Mark Kavanagh has confirmed that December Draw will run in Sunday’s Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
At First Sight is a final acceptor for Friday night’s Listed JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley but may still be an acceptor for the The Bart Cummings.
Smerdon confirmed that Black And Bent’s stablemate Light Vision would run in the The Bart Cummings.