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The Melbourne Cup may be 11 months away but trainer Robert Hickmott is already in planning mode

The Melbourne Cup may be 11 months away but trainer Robert Hickmott is already in planning mode with German import Schabau after his win at Flemington.

Hickmott prepared Green Moon and Almandin to win the Melbourne Cup for Lloyd Williams and was at Macedon Lodge when Efficient won the 2007 Cup.

Schabau’s lung capacity is the closest Hickmott has seen since Efficient, the best stayer he worked with in his time at Macedon Lodge.

The German-bred Schabau made his Australian debut in Tuesday’s George Watson Handicap (2000m) and Hickmott is planning a light summer campaign with a view to the spring.

Schabau arrived in Australia with other spring carnival contenders, but with the house full sign up at Werribee the four-year-old underwent quarantine at Mickleham.

Because there were no training facilities at Mickleham, Schabau was forced to miss the spring which Hickmott said may prove a blessing.

Ridden by Mark Zahra, Schabau was sent off the $3.80 favourite to defeat Prince Ziggy ($5.50) by a head with Into Rio ($18) another 3-3/4 lengths third.

“There’s plenty of improvement in the horse,” Hickmott said.

“That was his first Australian start and he can bounce off that and I’m sure he’s got a bright future.

“We’ll probably keep him to 2000 metres, maybe 2200 metres, and maybe give him two or three more runs and tip him out in March and get him back for the spring carnival.

“I’d like to set him for the Bart Cummings and if he can win that, that gives him a free ticket into the 2019 Melbourne Cup.”

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