Mark Kavanagh says the rain is not going to stop Caulfield Cup favourite December Draw from running in Sunday’s Group One Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.
However if the track does deteriorate from its dead (5) rating on Thursday after 34mm of rainfall overnight, the Flemington trainer believes it will bring some of the other horses into the race.
“The rain isn’t going to put any doubt over him. I’m committed to running him,” he said.
“I didn’t accept with him on Friday night (in the Group Three JRA Cup over 2040m at Moonee Valley). He’ll certainly be going around.
The imported Medecis six-year-old raced only on good tracks in England where he won three of 16 starts.
But since being knocked down to Sydney-based owner Richard Pegum at auction, he has excelled in Australia winning four of his five starts and finishing second in the other.
Four of those were on dead tracks for three wins with his latest victory over English Derby runner-up At First Sight in the Group Three Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield coming on a good surface.
“I think the softish track is going to play into a few of the other horses’ hands and it would be my assessment that this is pretty well a good, strong race,” Kavanagh said.
“There are a lot of good horses there that are just about ready to fire within their preparations.”
December Draw, a smallish, lightly-framed, athletic gelding, is the first import Kavanagh has prepared.
“This is the first one I’ve had from overseas and really he’s not much different,” he said.
“You’ve got to train them to suit what they need.
“He’s an individual in himself, he’s a little bit cranky but he seems to be thriving on what we’re doing.”
Kavanagh says he’s like everyone else when it comes to finding out whether December Draw can run 2400m, at this stage not having run any further than the 2000m of the Turnbull, and that will come in the $2.5 million Caulfield Cup on October 15.
“At this stage he’s not a great stayer, he’s a middle distance horse but we’re aiming him that way (towards the Cups),” he said.
“He’s a lighter-framed horse than (the now retired Kavanagh-trained 2009 Melbourne Cup winner) Shocking naturally being a gelding but he certainly has his own little ways.
“We certainly have to respect him for that and make sure that he gets his own way and he’s doing his best for us right now.”
December Draw is the $3.20 Turnbull favourite with TAB Sportsbet ahead of At First Sight at $6.50, Rekindled Interest and Southern Speed at $7, Glass Harmonium at $7.50, Linton at $11 with Playing God next best at $13.