In years gone by, Like A Carousel would already be in the Melbourne Cup field.
With the influx of higher-qualified European horses and a compression of weights, the Ken Keys-trained gelding has to win the Lexus Stakes at Flemington on Saturday to gain a spot on Tuesday.
Keys is enjoying his best season, due mainly to the deeds of Rich Enuff who runs in the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes.
The colt goes to the 1200-metre race three weeks after running second on the Caulfield Guineas.
Although he missed out on that Group One victory, Rich Enuff was still attractive enough to Woodside Park Stud who bought a share from the colt’s breeder, Keys’ wife Louise, for a reported $5 million.
Keys says Rich Enuff is a once-in-a-lifetime horse but Like A Carousel is a different prospect.
“In days gone by he would already be in the Cup,” Keys said.
“Unfortunately we do now have to get into the race, but I think we can.
“If he had won the Geelong Cup that would have helped. He also ran six seconds last spring so with a little more luck he would have more wins.”
Like A Carousel is throwback to the old-style Melbourne Cup runner.
“We bought him for $10,000 out of Tassie,” Keys said. “They grow them well down there.”
Like A Carousel ran third in the Geelong Cup behind Caravan Rolls On and Marksmanship who oppose him in the Lexus (2500m), the winner of which gains a spot in the Melbourne Cup.
Keys has trained in a rural setting at Cranbourne for around 30 years and has mainly kept a low profile.
Rich Enuff has changed that and Like A Carousel could add to that.
“It’s a lifetime of work and we’ve been lucky over the years and usually had a nice horse to keep us ticking over,” Keys said.
“The stud deal has taken the pressure off and things couldn’t get much better.”