As the Melbourne Cup 2016 approaches, international contender Wicklow Brave has had a trip away from his temporary home at Werribee.
The Willie Mullins-trained stayer was taken to Geelong on Wednesday for a work-out over 2400m.
It didn’t start well with the stayer shifting a shoe on the float trip to Geelong which needed to be replaced before his work-out.
Once he got out on the track, Wicklow Brave worked strongly under Dave Casey who travelled to Australia 12 months ago with the gelding’s stablemate, Melbourne Cup runner-up Max Dynamite.
“He can be an active horse under gallop but today was grand,” Casey said.
“Time wise, 13 days to the race, it suits us fine to take him away and open his pipes a little bit and that’s what we’ve done.”
Casey said the campaign at Werribee had gone smoothly and described Wicklow Brave and Max Dynamite as different types.
“Max was easy to do because he was so laid back,” Casey said.
“This fella is a little more active and you have to be mindful of what you’re doing.
“It probably took him a couple of more days to settle in.”
Casey said he and Mullins learned a lot from their trip to Melbourne last year and had tweaked a few minor details without straying too far from their regime in Ireland.
At Werribee, Wicklow Brave does his warm-up on the grass track before a canter on the all-weather surface, just as he would at home.
Following Wednesday’s gallop, Casey is hopeful Wicklow Brave can improve on Max Dynamite’s second placing.
“If we can keep him sound and in good form in the next 13 days you never know what can happen,” Casey said.
“You need a lot of luck with the draw and all that, but he’s well and the form is standing up from his races.
“This fella will handle most ground as it is but we wouldn’t mind it a little bit slow.
“It would have helped Max last year.”
Casey was impressed with Jameka’s win in last Saturday’s Caulfield Cup and believes she will have no problem handling the extra ground.
“You have to respect her wherever she goes but it’s probably franked the form for Hartnell who beat her easily,” Casey said.