War Legend will be on trial for a Queensland winter carnival campaign when he steps up to 2000 metres in either the Easter Cup at Caulfield or the Stawell Cup.
The Mike Moroney-trained four-year-old is the first emergency for Saturday’s Group Three $150,000 Easter Cup in a capacity field of 16 and three emergencies.
If he doesn’t gain a start the stable has the option of the $50,000 Stawell Cup over the same distance the following day.
“We’ve got in him in the Stawell Cup as well but we’d prefer to run in the Easter Cup if we could at this stage,” Moroney said.
“It’s a bit of a rise in class but his run in the Golden Mile last start was good and we thought we’d step him up to 2000 metres because we’ve got in the back of our minds that we’d like to go to Queensland with him.
“But if he’s not going to be able to run out a strong 2000 metres then we won’t, and we’d do something different.”
Moroney said if he can’t run 2000m strongly it reduces the Queensland options and the gelding could instead be aimed towards a 1600m race during the upcoming South Australian carnival.
“He’ll be on trial to see which way we go,” Moroney said.
The Lee and Anthony Freedman-trained Tom Melbourne, who has the outside barrier, is the $4 Sportsbet favourite for the Easter Cup ahead of the Danny O’Brien-trained Second Bullet at $6.
A last-start third in the Listed Golden Mile (1600m) at Bendigo, War Legend shares the third line at $8 with Dark Eyes.
War Legend has raced twice over 2000m but not since last season.
He was fifth in the Group Two Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) in his first attempt at the distance and fourth in the Chairman’s Stakes (2000m) later that campaign in Adelaide when Moroney believes he might have been a tired horse.
“We’re hoping that he’s a bigger and stronger horse this time and that he will run it,” Moroney said.
In the day’s other feature race at Caulfield, the Group Three Victoria Handicap (1400m), Tasmanian visitor Hellova Street has been installed the $3.80 favourite in a capacity field.