Trainer Matt Cumani has removed any temptation of pressing Khoekhoe towards a start in the Victoria Derby by not entering the three-year-old for the Group 1 contest.
But that does not mean Khoekhoe’s immediate campaign is finished as Cumani intends to start the three-year-old in the $300,000 Group 2 Drummond Golf Vase (2040m) at The Valley on Saturday.
Cumani did not think Khoekhoe was mature enough to run the 2500m of the $2 million Group 1 Victoria Derby at Flemington on Saturday week.
“We didn’t put him in the Derby, he wouldn’t have been ready for it,” Cumani said.
“He’s a lightly-framed horse and still a bit immature.
“We can give him a run at 2000 metres and then tip him out and it will be interesting to see how he goes over that trip.”
Khoekhoe has proven versatile in his brief career.
He won The Showdown (1200m) at Caulfield in April and last start scored over 1800m at Flemington, taking out the Listed Super Impose Stakes, relegating Derby hopefuls Young Werther and Albarado to the minor money.
Cumani said there was still plenty of time to test Khoekhoe as a potential Derby campaigner.
“He handled the 1800 metres at Flemington and he was tough at the end,” Cumani said.
“He’s out of a Cape Cross mare so you would think he’d get the distance, but the Turffontein side probably holds him back a bit.
“We might look at something like the Rosehill Guineas if we’re being really ambitious, into the Australian Derby, or we could go a bit easier to the Chairmans in Adelaide and then head up to Queensland.”
Khoekhoe is among 23 nominations for the Vase on Saturday which also includes Grandslam who his trainers Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace are hopeful of gaining a start with in the Cox Plate.
Other nominations for the Group 2 race include Group 1 Thousand Guineas runner-up Personal, Cherry Tortoni and Young Werther.
Besides the Cox Plate, the other feature race on Saturday is the $500,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m).
It has brought together a nomination list of 28 horses, with Cumani entering San Huberto who is also an acceptor in the $400,000 Listed Geelong Cup on Wednesday.
Khoekhoe and Fred Kersley winning at Flemington, picture Racing Photos