Hong Kong star Mighty High gives champion Darren Beadman what he believes is his best chance to become the eighth jockey to complete Australian racing’s grand slam in Saturday’s $2.5 million Caulfield Cup.
Chris Munce, riding Descarado last year, became the seventh to complete Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper victories.
Beadman has been based in Hong Kong for the past five years but before that won two Melbourne Cups, two Golden Slippers and a Cox Plate.
The 45-year-old will join Roy Higgins, Neville Sellwood, Pat Hyland, Mick Dittman, Jim Cassidy, Damien Oliver and Munce if the John Moore-trained Peintre Celebre six-year-old is successful.
“His two runs at Caulfield have been really good. He’s been racing on the speed, he hadn’t had a trial before he came here so to get the two runs into him including the Caulfield Stakes just gave him that little bit extra mileage into his legs,” Beadman said.
“To me he feels like he wants a mile and a half (2400m). He’s lost that turn of foot and he has become a little bit dour since winning the Champion and Chaters (Cup) in Hong Kong at the tail end of the season.”
“So from the pole gate (barrier one) we’re just hoping.
“As we all know they go a nice gallop down the straight the first time and he has pretty good gate speed and puts himself in the right spot so really you can dictate where you want to go.
“You can go forward, or back if they are going too fast, but really we want him to try and settle a little bit so wherever he’s comfortable.”
Mighty High will wear a cross-over nose band for the first time on Saturday.
“He’s a bit of an awkward horse to ride at the best of times but with the cross-over that might change his train of thought a little bit,”Beadman said.
Last year Hong Kong galloper Mr Medici ran sixth in the Caulfield Cup first-up since winning the Champion and Chaters Cup (2400m) in May, a race he was runner-up in this year to Mighty High.
“He’s every bit as good as Mr Medici and he’s had a better preparation than Mr Medici coming into this race,” Beadman said of Mighty High.
“The horse has done very well and handles all types of ground.
“We’ve been able to give him two goes at Caulfield which can be a tricky track so he’s going to go there tomorrow saying I’ve been here, done this before and it might be the edge that he needs.”
Mighty High has come in from $12 to $9 with TAB Sportsbet since Wednesday’s barrier draw and the gelding is second pick behind the Mark Kavanagh-trained December Draw who has drifted from $2.35 to $2.60.
Beadman rated December Draw’s Group One Turnbull Stakes victory as a “dour win” and rates Mighty High a good each-way chance in an open race.
“He’ll probably start favourite in Hong Kong (betting),” he said.
With the weights going up 2.5kg, Mighty High is now topweight with 57kg but only 4.5kg above the limit.
“I don’t think there are any Let’s Elopes with 48.5 kilos there or Northerlys or Might And Powers in the race,” Beadman said.