Emerging stayer Shewan will be trying to keep a Melbourne Cup dream alive when he contests the Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield.
Trainer Robert Smerdon is ramping up a spring attack with the lightly-raced five-year-old who needs to win Saturday’s 2400-metre Group Two event to pass the first ballot clause for the Cup.
“We haven’t pushed the envelope too much with him because he’s been a horse who was going to progress with time,” Smerdon said
“He’s always shown us something.”
He scored the first of four wins in 14 starts when he landed a maiden over 1400 metres at Warrnambool in May last year and soon after showed staying promise with success in a 2000-metre race at Mildura.
An encouraging summer campaign that included a win over 2100 metres at Sandown and third to Guyno and Cedarberg in the Mornington Cup fuelled spring hopes.
“We put him away after the Cup at Mornington to give him his chance now,” Smerdon said.
“Ideally we would like to to go Caulfield on Saturday and then the Moonee Valley Cup and see where he fits in after that.
“We have left him in the (Melbourne) Cup but if he doesn’t fire he might go out.”
Shewan is Smerdon’s last hope of having a runner in this year’s Melbourne Cup after he didn’t pay up this week for Grand National Hurdle winner Black And Bent who was unplaced in last Sunday’s The Bart Cummings at Flemington.
Shewan posted a first-up win over 1400 metres at Sandown in August and finished sixth at Moonee Valley before an eye-catching second to Platinum Passion in the Perri Cutten Plate (2000m) at Caulfield on September 24.
Smerdon said jockey Nick Hall rode to instructions last start but in hindsight a more aggressive ride may provided a better result.
“I thought he might been half a run short last time and had we held our spot early he might have won the race,” Smerdon said.
He said he feared the defeat may have cost him a start in the Herbert Power and was relieved that he made the field.
Shewan is not in the Caulfield Cup.
Chris Symons has picked up the ride on Shewan while Hall is required for the Robert Hickmott-trained Tanby, a last-start winner over 2500 metres at Moonee Valley.
Like Shewan, Tanby is also unqualified for the Melbourne Cup and needs to win on Saturday as do Lucky Eighty Eight and Midnight Martini.
Lucky Eighty Eight and Midnight Martini, along with Saptapadi, Master O’Reilly, Macedonian, Anudjawun, Bauer, Rebel Soldier and Lopov are all in the Caulfield Cup but need to win the Herbert Power to be assured of a start.