Emerging stayer Folding Gear (Johar) booked himself a Caulfield Cup start, if his trainers want it, with his win in Saturday’s $150,000 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield.
Folding Gear fights hard to get the better of Mr O' Ceirin, picture quentinjlang.com
Immaturity and various physical niggles consigned Folding Gear to just 13 starts prior to his Naturalism Stakes but the gelding showed he is ready for a test against top staying company with his victory.
A solid tempo set by Glen Boss aboard Mr O’Ceirin (Postponed) ensured the 2012 running of the Naturalism Stakes was a decent staying test, which suited Folding Gear perfectly.
Ben Melham position Folding Gear midfield before the son of Johar improved into the race from the 600 metres. Folding Gear had to work hard to beat the plucky Mr O’Ceirin but accomplished the task inside the final 50 metres to give the Lee and Shannon Hope-trained galloper a chance to run in the world’s richest 2400-metre handicap race.
“At this stage we are aiming at it (the Caulfield Cup) but I suppose we’re exempt from ballot now but we’ll just see how he comes through it,” Shannon Hope said.
“It’s not the end of the world if we don’t get there. The Coongy would be just as easy.
“If it didn’t happen today, we’d just press on and if we got a run, we got a run.”
Folding Gear defeated Mr O’Ceirin by a half-length while Exceptionally finished a long head further away in third spot. The field ran the 2000 metres in 2:03.16 on a good (3) track, which included a last 600-metre sectional of 36.22 seconds. Folding Gear started at $7.50 on track but paid $7.80 on the Victorian TAB.
Hope said Folding Gear would go straight into the Caulfield Cup if he pleased the stable in the ensuing three weeks. The horse’s co-trainer said the gelding was a natural athlete that did not need a lengthy build-up to the event.
“He won’t have another run going into it, I don’t think he’ll need it,” Hope said.
“He doesn’t take a lot of work and he’s one of those horses that you need to keep above himself. That’s why we have spaced his runs three weeks apart.”
Folding Gear, picture quentinjlang.com
Folding Gear cost $NZ30,000 at the 2009 NZB Select Yearling Sale. The handy prospect has now won more than $350,000 for his owner – K J Beck.