Emma-Lee and David Browne may not be among the biggest names in New Zealand racing, but they certainly punch above their weight.
With their ‘once in a lifetime horse’ they are hoping to pick up a Group 1 win on Australian soil when Elephant runs in the Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Arriving in Melbourne with a team of four horses, David Browne has produced 16 starters, collecting five wins and around $400,000 in prize money for connections and if Elephant can take out the Toorak, that total can swell to almost $1 million.
Browne has been based at Cranbourne at the stables of Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, saying the facilities at the track have given his team their best opportunity.
Elephant has won six of his seven starts and importantly is a winner at Caulfield.
At his second Australian start, Elephant was touched out by Superstorm in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) at The Valley before winning the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m) on September 25.
A win on Saturday may lead to Browne giving Elephant his chance in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 23.
“We’ve always thought he would be best at 2000 (metres),” Browne told RSN.
“The way he switched off the other day and relaxed in the running, I can’t see 2000 being a problem.
“If he won a Toorak, I think we’d have a go. When your horse is in form, you’d kick yourself if you don’t have a go at these things.”
Under the handicap conditions of Saturday’s race, Elephant will carry 55.5kg with Damian Lane aboard who has ridden the son of Melbourne Cup winner Shocking in his two Australian wins.
Browne said horses down in the weights are the ones to keep an eye on, but at the same time thought it was a winnable weight that Elephant received.
“I think he’s working as well as he has done the whole time and looking the best he has the whole time, so we’re pretty happy with him,” Browne said.