Melbourne racegoers will see promising three-year-old Mongolian Wolf for the first time at Caulfield after the Queensland Derby co-favourite was unable to get a flight north for a lead-up to the Brisbane classic.
The Darren Weir-trained Mongolian Wolf and elder stablemate Neverland have been scratched from Brisbane races on Saturday and will instead run in separate 2000m races at Caulfield as lead-ups to Queensland targets later in the carnival.
“Plan A was for them to go to Queensland but obviously there’s a few issues at the moment with flying so Plan B comes into place,” Weir’s Warrnambool stable foreman Jarrod McLean said.
Mongolian Wolf won the Frank Packer Plate in Sydney in his first start for the Weir stable, having previously raced in New Zealand.
While plans to run Mongolian Wolf in Saturday’s Rough Habit Plate at Doomben had to be shelved, plans are to send him to Brisbane for the Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) two weeks after Saturday and then the Group One Queensland Derby (2400m) on June 10.
Mongolian Wolf, who is based at Weir’s Warrnambool stable, is the shortest priced favourite on the Caulfield program at $2.40 in the Noel Rundle Handicap despite having 62kg which will be offset by apprentice Mitch Aitken’s 3kg claim.
“He’s trained on really well,” McLean said.
“Obviously his grand final this prep is the Queensland Derby but he looks a class horse in tomorrow’s race at Caulfield.
“He was terrific winning in Sydney and he hasn’t gone backwards from that so I’m looking forward to seeing him step out again.
“He’ll be hard to beat and obviously the three kilo claim for Mitch Aitken brings him back to the field a little bit. He’s a promising rider and from gate five, on paper it doesn’t look like he can do too much wrong.”
Dual Perth Cup runner-up Neverland, who is on a Brisbane Cup path, has her second start since joining the stable and is at $19 for Saturday’s Chandler Macleod Handicap in which Aitken takes 3kg off her 62.5kg.
“She’s probably still a run away,” McLean said.
“Everything is good with her but with that sort of weight in that field tomorrow I’d expect her to be hitting the line strongly, and look for her next time out.”