If not for an encouraging gallop and a change in the condition of Volkstok’n’barrell’s coat he may not be taking his place in the Caulfield Cup.
Co-trainer Chris Gibbs, who prepares the gelding in partnership with Donna Logan, revealed they would have had no hesitation heading home to New Zealand after Volkstok’n’barrell’s last-start ninth in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.
But a solid gallop at Caulfield on Tuesday and the improvement in the gelding’s coat convinced them he deserved a start in Saturday’s Group One 2400m race.
“He’s been behind the eight-ball all the way through chasing the others but he’s looked good in the last few days and his coat has really started to shine,” Gibbs said.
“It would have been easy to go home and I don’t think Donna would have had any problem doing that.
“We just needed to give ourselves a little bit of time and assess things to see how the horse came through that last run and it probably all came down to his work, which was very good.”
Volkstok’n’barrell is a $26 chance in latest markets and with Craig Newitt in the saddle, he will be ridden quietly.
The gelding was ridden on the pace when beaten two lengths in the Turnbull Stakes.
Gibbs said jockey Opie Bosson was a victim of circumstances after Volkstok’n’barrell began well.
He said he was heartened to hear that Newitt, after riding the gelding in his work on Tuesday, would also like Volkstok’n’barrell ridden quietly.
“I don’t think you can take that run the other day into account as the way he was ridden was a bit of a disaster for us,” Gibbs said.
“I tend to think he’s a better chaser.
“On Saturday we’re going to have to ride him a bit quieter and ride him for luck.”
Volkstok’n’barrell came up with barrier 11 in Tuesday’s draw and will jump from barrier seven if the four emergencies don’t gain a start.
In two starts over 2400 metres, Volkstok’n’barrell has finished second in the NZ Derby and third in the Australian Derby with both races won by Caulfield Cup favourite Mongolian Khan.