Rosemont Stud principle Anthony Mithen is hoping for an easier path to the Melbourne Cup with Runaway than the one the stayer took to last year’s race.
Part-owned by the stud, Runaway finished 19th behind Cross Counter after gaining a start with a weight penalty for winning the Geelong Cup.
“It all surprised us last spring,” Mithen said.
“We raced him long into the autumn and I had given away the spring.
“Gai was the only believer that she could get him up and going for some of the better staying races, even though she was running out of time.
“It was 40 days from running first-up to the Melbourne Cup.
“He was third-up into the Geelong Cup and when he won that we thought it just unbelievable, our hometown cup.
“But the icing on the cake was getting into the Melbourne Cup.”
Runaway will be going into Saturday’s race third-up for the campaign.
Finding 1600m too short first-up, Runaway then finished fourth behind Mr Quickie over 2000m at Caulfield on April 27.
Waterhouse has since surprised connections, taking Runaway to Cranbourne for a 2400m-hurdle school, a move that seems to have had the desired result.
“She’s a lady that doesn’t leave a stone unturned to get a horse right,” Mithen said.
“He ran in a hurdle trial a week or so ago. He was a bit unsure about the hurdles but it certainly sparked him up a bit and that was the whole reason for it.
“Some of the other part-owners were madly ringing me about whether he was going to be turned into a Grand National horse, but all it was about was sparking him up and hopefully it’s had the desired result.”
Mithen said success on Saturday would make life simpler later in the year.
And Runaway will take a lot of the luck out of winning or losing by racing on pace.
“He gets the trip having won the St Leger at Flemington,” Mithen said.
“He’s a horse that keeps surprising us and keeps giving us a hell of a thrill.
“It would be a massive performance to get that golden ticket into the Melbourne Cup.”