The Makybe Diva Stakes is shaping as a defining race for a number of spring carnival hopefuls.
One such horse is Volkstok’n’barrell whose connections will have a clearer picture of their direction after Saturday’s Group One race at Flemington.
The New Zealand four-year-old came to Melbourne with next month’s Cox Plate the aim but following his first-up seventh in the Memsie Stakes and an attractive 53.5kg in the Caulfield Cup, the options opened up.
Chris Gibbs, who trains in partnership with Donna Logan, has been with Volkstok’n’barrell since his arrival in Melbourne and said decision time is approaching.
He said rather than having a knee-jerk reaction following Volkstok’n’barrell’s first-up performance he would prefer to wait until after Saturday to settle plans.
“He’s so well weighted in the Caulfield Cup that you’ve got to be tempted,” Gibbs said.
“The Cox Plate was the aim when we came over but we did nominate him for the Caulfield Cup and we’ve paid up for both.
“I think Saturday will tell us a lot.”
Craig Williams, who won the Rosehill Guineas on the four-year-old in the autumn, is reunited with Volkstok’n’barrell on Saturday.
Gibbs said Volkstok’n’barrell had thrived since his Memsie performance and his work when paired with Mutual Regard on Tuesday was strong.
“He really got into his tucker after that first run,” Gibbs said.
“He thrived in Sydney and it was a matter of would he do the same thing here, but he’s settled in really well.
“He’s a bit of a cruiser in his work. He put a length on the other horse and then he waits, but he pulled up nice.
“He had a good blow but when he came back to me he had recovered.”
Gibbs said Williams would do his homework on Saturday’s race and have a plan that may need some tweaking. from barrier 16.
“If we were rock-hard fit we might push forward from that draw,” Gibbs said.
“We thought when fresh-up he might have been more forward. He jumped good but when he hit the ground he didn’t have that speed.
“Craig does his homework and we’re very happy to have him on.”
Memsie Stakes winner Boban is the $4.60 favourite to win his second Group One race of the season ahead of Fawkner at $5.50 and Alpine Eagle at $6.
Volkstok’n’barrell is a $13 chance.