In-demand jockey Corey Brown has placed himself on a Cox Plate diet after partnering talented Sydney colt Smart Missile in a sparkling gallop at Caulfield on Tuesday morning.
Brown has his second race ride on Smart Missile in Saturday’s Group One Caulfield Guineas (1600m), a race that will decide his immediate future.
If he runs well in the Guineas, a Cox Plate start is on the colt’s agenda and Brown is making sure he’ll be available should that plan materialise.
“Put it this way, I’ve started the diet already,” Brown said.
Under the weight-for-age scale, Smart Missile would carry 48.5kg in the Moonee Valley feature.
Brown said he had been pleasantly surprised at Smart Missile’s attitude in his gallop, which he said was in contrast to a racing pattern that contributed to his defeat in his first Melbourne run last month.
“In his races he just loafs along and gets out the back,” Brown said.
“But I couldn’t believe how keen he was in his work today.
“I was expecting him to be relaxed and sit off the other horse but he was right up outside it and going quite solid.”
Smart Missile was shaded by his older galloping partner in his work at Caulfield, but Brown said he’d gone easy on the colt in the final stages.
“The other horse won the gallop but I idled down the last 100 (metres) because I didn’t want to do too much … we’d gone pretty solid from the 600,” he said.
“I was happy with his work and I expect him to run well.
“I know he’s a good horse but it’s going to be a hot race.”
After riding Smart Missile, Brown produced a slick 50km “gallop” of his own to get to Werribee to ride one of his Cups prospects, the German galloper Lucas Cranach.
Now trained by Anthony Freedman, Lucas Cranach is a Group Two winner at home and had his form boosted last weekend by the win of German filly Danedream in the world’s most prestigious race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
At his most recent start Lucas Cranach finished fifth, 5-1/2 lengths behind Danedream in a Group One race over 2400m.
As he was with Smart Missile, Brown was delighted with Lucas Cranach’s gallop.
“I just liked the way that when he got there, it was easy for him,” Brown said.
“You can tell under race day conditions he’d really eat the line.”
Lucas Cranach leaves the quarantine centre this week for the Freedman stables at Rye.
A decision on his spring program will be made in the next few days, but a Caulfield Cup start is the likely first step.
For Brown the question is slightly irrelevant.
“I’d be happy to ride this horse wherever he goes,” he said.