South Australian Derby ambitions have not eventuated for Fontein Lad with the gelding instead remaining in Victoria to chase a city win at Caulfield.
The Greg Eurell-trained three-year-old was second emergency for Saturday’s Group One South Australian Derby (2500m) in Adelaide and was scratched after drawing the outside barrier.
Instead, he will run in Saturday’s Noel Rundle Handicap (2000m) in Melbourne for which he is a $7.50 chance.
“He was an emergency and had barrier 20 which was not ideal by any means, and it’s a nice race for us here in Melbourne on Saturday,” Eurell said.
“It was disappointing not to get to the Derby, of course, but I’m sure he’ll be competitive at Caulfield. His last run was a good solid effort.”
Fontein Lad, the winner of two of his 15 starts, was beaten in a photo-finish to a 2200m benchmark-64 on the Pakenham synthetic track last start by fellow three-year-old Casta who runs in the SA Derby.
Eurell admitted it had been the Derby had been the goal this preparation.
“Had he won last start it might have just pushed him up in the order a little bit,” he said.
Despite having the 2500m race as the target, Eurell believes Fontein Lad will make his presence felt dropping back to 2000m.
“I know he’s fit and I know he’s super well, so he’ll give them a run for their money,” he said.
Eurell also has Carterista chasing a first metropolitan win in Saturday’s Catanach’s Jewellers Handicap (1200m).
The mare broke her maiden at her fifth start at Ballarat by a narrow margin after racing keenly in front, while her fast-finishing second at Sale last start was her fourth runner-up finish from six starts.
“She was a bit jarry after it but she seems to have bounced back and we’re looking forward to Saturday,” Eurell said.
Carterista returns to city class for the first time since the final weekend of last season.
“I think she’s up to city class and we certainly wouldn’t be attempting it otherwise,” Eurell said.
“She’s got a lot of ability and at the weight scale she should be very competitive.
“She’s drawn lovely in barrier three so she only needs to get a little smother, give herself a bit softer run in transit and she’ll finish off really well.”