Elusive King will be out for a consolation win when he contests Saturday’s Galilee Series Final at Caulfield.
The Peter Moody stable had been aiming the Elusive Quality gelding towards Saturday’s $1.5 million Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick.
But after he was withdrawn at the barrier from the Group Two Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley on March 18 his Derby preparation was thrown into disarray.
“He’s got a lot of class,” Jeff O’Connor, Moody’s stable manager, said.
“Him being taken out at the barrier in the Alister Clark cost him running in the AJC Australian Derby on the weekend.
“We’ve decided to keep him home for this race because he hasn’t had a perfect Derby preparation.
“The Caulfield race is 2400m too but he doesn’t have to travel.”
Elusive King was having his first start for four weeks when he finished third to the dead-heaters, stablemate Almodovar and Cuban Sunday, in a 2000m heat of the Galilee Series at Caulfield on March 26.
At his previous outing he had finished runner-up to Folding Gear in the Group Two Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield.
O’Connor said Elusive King was heading towards a start in either the VRC St Leger or the South Australian Derby, if not both races.
The Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) is at Flemington on Anzac Day while the Group One South Australian Derby (2500m) is at Morphettville on May 7.
Elusive King is equal topweight with 59kg with the Mick Price-trained Cuban Sunday, who is chasing his fourth successive win, and meets that gelding 1.5kg better at the weights for being beaten a head.
Ben Melham has been engaged for Elusive King who drew wide in barrier 12 in the 13-horse field.
Almodovar, to be ridden by Linda Meech, fared even worse with the outside gate.
“He’s a nice stayer in the making,” O’Connor said of Almodovar.
“We didn’t think he could win in town over 2000 metres and another stride and he wins outright.
“We couldn’t have been happier with that effort.”
The Pins gelding was stepping up from a 2-1/4-length Pakenham maiden win over 1750m on March 6.
“He beat ordinary horses at Pakenham and did it from the front because he was better than them,” O’Connor said.
“At Caulfield we thought if he’s going to be a stayer let’s change things around a bit and give him a chance to find his feet, and he was super.”
Elusive King is $3.90 favourite with TAB Sportsbet ahead of Almodovar, Right Of Refusal and Cuban Sunday, all at $5, with Royaltown Road best of the rest at $10.