The results of a blood test will determine whether Adelaide galloper Gris Caro makes an interstate trip to Melbourne on Saturday.
The imported galloper has been paid up for the Health Science Planning Consultants Handicap (2040m) at Moonee Valley with apprentice Michael Dee booked for the ride.
However, the expense of horse travel has prompted trainer Jake Stephens to take every precaution before confirming a Moonee Valley start for Gris Caro.
“It’s a long way to go and if there’s some discrepancies in the blood then it’s not worth taking the trip,” Stephens said.
“It only costs a hundred bucks to do a blood, whereas it’s never cheap to travel.
“The horse transport costs are about $650 each-way but I usually drive them myself which saves a bit of money for the owners.
“But then there’s accommodation, so it ends up not being a cheap exercise.”
Gris Caro shaped as a spring carnival contender with his victory in the Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield in September but he struck a firm track at his next start in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington and raced poorly.
Stephens thought he had the horse patched up in time to contest the Caulfield Cup but the six-year-old was a scratching from the Group One race.
“We iced him and did everything we could for a week-and-a-half before the Caulfield Cup,” Stephens said.
“Then we found he had a bad bruise on a heel and that’s when we thought that was enough for him.”
Stephens is hoping Moonee Valley’s Strathayr surface can spark a return to form for Gris Caro who has finished down the track in all three runs this campaign.
The horse finished second to Mourinho in the 2013 JRA Cup and seventh to The Cleaner in last year’s Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at his only two runs at the track.