Adelaide-based Stuart Gower has sent his promising middle-distance galloper Mongolian Marshal to Melbourne for a race at Sandown but is reluctant to follow suit.
Gower fears he will be forced to undergo a 14-day quarantine when he returns home if he came to Melbourne to saddle Mongolian Marshal in the Ladbrokes Bet Ticker Handicap (1800m) on Saturday.
Instead, he will entrust the Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra stable to saddle the gelding on Saturday, just as they did when the gelding won the Kyneton Cup last November.
Restrictions between Victoria and South Australia are due to be relaxed this weekend, but Gower said it was not worth the risk if it all goes pear-shaped.
“I’d rather send him over this week and then hopefully we’ll freshen him up and run him in the Winter Championship Final (at Flemington) in three weeks.
“Hopefully I can come over for that one, at least.”
Mongolian Marshal has not been sighted since winning over 1600m at Flemington on May 22 when Brett Prebble got him home in a deceptive photo finish.
Gower said that experience should hold Prebble in good stead for Saturday’s outing when Mongolian Marshal let down quickly and hit the front too soon.
The prospects of a heavy Sandown track don’t hold any fears for Gower, although he would have preferred a 1600m contest instead of Saturday’s 1800m.
“He’s won three in the soft in New Zealand and you’d think their soft would nearly be our heavy,” Gower said.
“We haven’t really tried him on soft ground, but he seems a different horse now, and I think he’ll handle it no worries.
“I would have preferred another mile race, but there wasn’t anything suitable.
“You either run in a 1400-metre next week at Flemington, but I think this suits better as he’s then got three weeks to freshen up back to the mile of the Winter Championship Final.”