Warwick Farm trainer Matthew Smith is spreading his stable’s runners over three states this weekend headed by Grey Lion in the Group Two Brisbane Cup.
Smith will also have runners at Randwick on Saturday but favours sending sprinter Tonsor to Melbourne rather than running him in the Listed June Stakes.
The Melbourne race is over 1000 metres on the straight course at Flemington.
“I think the race at Flemington looks a bit easier for him than Randwick over 1100 metres,” Smith said.
“He has never raced down the straight and it will be something new. We have booked Jye McNeil to ride.
“He seems to be better placed there.”
Grey Lion goes to the Brisbane Cup off two recent stakes wins in Sydney over 2000 metres, the most recent the Lord Mayor’s Cup on May 18.
He has been kept up to the mark with a barrier trial last Friday.
The gelding won over 2500m when trained by Andre Fabre in France and has a 2400m-win in Victoria for previous trainer Matt Cumani.
He is among the leading contenders for Saturday’s race with the market led by Sixties Groove ahead of Wednesday’s acceptances.
“He is in great shape and I can’t fault him,” Smith said.
“He looks good and is working well.”
Kathy O’Hara has ridden Grey Lion to his two Sydney wins and retains the mount in the Brisbane Cup.
Grey Lion is owned by OTI Racing which also has Attorney in the Smith stable.
“We are favouring Newcastle for his first Australian start,” Smith said.
Another OTI-owned stayer, Plymouth Road, is scheduled to run over 2400m at Randwick after a close fifth in the Warrnambool Cup.
“His run at Warrnambool was enormous,” Smith said.
“Josh Parr will ride him and he has to be a chance.”
Another former European, Ilwendo, will run over 1600m at Randwick but Smith admits the race is likely to be too short.
Ilwendo was previously trained by another Melbourne Cup winner, Andreas Wohler, who won Australia’s most famous race in 2014 with Protectionist.
Wohler trained Ilwendo for three starts over 2200m, for two thirds and a win.