A second outside draw in as many weeks has prompted the scratching of Fawkner from a Group One race at Flemington.
Fawkner was scheduled to run in the Mackinnon Stakes on Saturday but after the gelding drew barrier 15, connections have decided to keep him for the Zipping Classic at Sandown.
The gelding finished sixth behind Winx in last week’s Cox Plate after starting from gate 14.
Nick Williams, who was at the Werribee quarantine complex on Friday to watch the work-outs of two of the Aidan O’Brien-trained Melbourne Cup hopes he part-owns – Bondi Beach and Kingfisher – said Fawkner had pulled up well from his Cox Plate effort and it was only the draw that influenced the decision to take him out on Saturday.
“He pulled up well from last week but we just thought about the barrier and decided we’d save him for a race very dear to our heart, the Zipping Classic,” Williams said.
Zipping, owned by Williams’ father Lloyd, won four straight Sandown Classics from 2007 to 2010 and the weight-for-age race was renamed in his honour.
The Group Two Zipping Classic (2400m) is at Sandown on November 14.
Williams said Bondi Beach and Kingfisher, who he and his father bought shares in some weeks ago, looked in terrific order after working over a lap of the Werribee track on Friday.
He said O’Brien was happy with the progress of the two stayers following reports from stable staff who accompanied them to Melbourne from Ireland.
The Williams-owned The United States currently sits in 24th spot in the Cup order of entry following the scratching of Mongolian Khan on Thursday, and can be leapfrogged if the winner of the Lexus Stakes on Saturday runs in next Tuesday’s race.
“What will be will be,” Williams said.
“It doesn’t bother me whether he gets in or not because everyone has put so much time in.
“The only way something is going to get in is if something goes wrong, and it could quite easily be one of ours.
“I just prefer that everyone stays safe and gets a run.
“We’ve got enough horses in it and if he doesn’t get in, then he can run next Saturday.”