Beaten Standish Handicap favourite Divine Mr Artie is unlikely to back up within a week at Caulfield but his stablemate Murt The Flirt will be out to earn a trip to the Gold Coast when he takes his place on his home track.
Trainer Brendan McCarthy has nominated Divine Mr Artie for two races on Saturday, a benchmark 78 over 1400m and a benchmark 84 over 1200m, but after considering the options said he was unlikely to run.
Divine Mr Artie finished fifth in Sunday’s Group Three Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
“I was thinking about it and was even looking at the benchmark 78 over 1400 even though he would get a lot of weight, and claiming on him,” McCarthy said.
“But it’s a 60,000 dollar race – I thought it was 80,000 – so I probably won’t worry about it.”
McCarthy said Divine Mr Artie was likely to run next in either the Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday week or the Listed John Dillon Stakes over the same distance at Caulfield later in the month.
Murt The Flirt is scheduled to run in Saturday’s 1200m-benchmark 84 and McCarthy hopes blinkers and a change in his training regime can help the gelding bounce back to winning form.
“He’s likely to run and we’ve put blinkers on him and we’ll be claiming on him with apprentice Ben Allen to ride,” McCarthy said.
“If he can win there and do it convincingly he still might earn a trip up to Queensland for the following Saturday for the Magic Millions.
“He shut down last start on the firmer track but his legs were as cool as can be the next day. There was no ill effects from the run, even though he’s just purely looking after himself on the harder tracks.”
The trainer has added some jumping to Murt The Flirt’s work regime to help sharpen him up.
Murt The Flirt has raced at the Magic Millions raceday for the past two years.
His options at this year’s Gold Coast meeting are the Magic Millions Sprint (1200m) and the Cup over 1400m.