Spring campaign starts at Mornington

It has taken a while, but Paul Preusker says Captain Envious (NZ) is now the seasoned stayer that can be targeted towards Australia's best staying races. 

The Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup are on Preusker's mind as Captain Envious (NZ) heads towards start number 20 in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on Saturday. 

Success in Saturday's race will give Captain Envious (NZ) a ballot exemption into the Caulfield Cup (2400m) in October, while Preusker is also planning to start the stayer in the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) at Flemington next month to win a start into the Melbourne Cup (3200m) in November. 

Preusker has always regarded Captain Envious (NZ) highly and at start number six, coming off a Benchmark 70 win at Geelong, he threw the gelding into the Group 3 Queens Cup (2600m) during the 2022 Melbourne Cup Carnival in which the 5-year-old finished third behind Soulcombe (GB). 

Subsequent campaigns have all been about toughening Captain Envious (NZ) to stand the rigours of training and racing and Preusker believes the gelding is now at that point. 

"He's slowly putting it together and is becoming street smart and tough now," Preusker told RSN. "We're looking forward to seeing where he can get to this prep. 

"Those first couple of preps he would weaken on me, but he's ready to be a horse this time and you look at him and I think I could tighten him up a bit more." 

Captain Envious (NZ) has a couple of Cups already ‘in the locker’; picture Racing Photos

Captain Envious (NZ) won the Listed Ballarat Cup (2000m) last December and more recently the Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield. Now he's got to step up to 2400m, a trip he won over at Geelong as a younger horse, but now he has got to do it against more seasoned stayers. 

"He's got to answer the question whether he can get right out in trip or not," Preusker said. "He's certainly got the constitution there. He's a sound horse and heading in the right direction. 

"I don't have any problems at 2400 [metres], can he run out a tough two miles, I guess not many can, but I'd like to find out." 

Preusker said plans are simple for the remainder of campaign, head to Mornington and win and then onto Flemington for the Andrew Ramsden. 

"We'll have a go on Saturday, and that ticks a box, and rain, hail or shine, we'll have a go at the Ramsden which will tick another box," Preusker said. 

"I think that would be enough for him and then he can have a light time for a while, but once we get through those runs, we'll know our path."