The ease of Beauden’s last-start win in the Group 2 Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) even surprised his biggest fan, jockey Ryan Elliot.
Not because Elliot didn’t think the six-year-old Bullbars gelding was capable of producing such a compelling performance but because he did it on a track wetter than he prefers.
Elliot heads to Riccarton on Saturday to ride Beauden in the Group 3 Coca-Cola Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m) and with conditions set to remain in the dead range, the Hamilton jockey doesn’t expect to be caught off-guard again.
“I didn’t think he’d handle the (Slow9) ground but he just seems to grow a leg at Awapuni. Even so, he surprised me how easily he did it,” said Elliot, who has won seven races on the horse.
“The better track will suit him on Saturday and it’s a nice big track too. He’s best on left-handed tracks and I think Riccarton will really suit him.
“I galloped him on Tuesday and he galloped a lot better than he did going into Awapuni so I take a lot of confidence from that. He’ll be one of the horses to beat, for sure.”
TAB bookmakers share Elliot’s confidence, having made the Graeme and Debbie Rogerson-trained Beauden a +110 favourite for the Riccarton weight-for-age feature ahead of Hypnos at +600 and William Wallace at +800.
Beauden headed south from the Rogersons’ Hamilton stables on Tuesday, arriving in Christchurch on Thursday.
“He’s a good traveller. He loves travelling and he’s a nice, kind horse. Everything you want to do with him, he just does,” Graeme Rogerson said.
“He’s going really well and this is a nice race for him. He’s getting better all the time. It’s weight-for-age so it suits him. It’s a long way to go without winning, but we’ll see what happens.”
Hall Of Fame trainer Rogerson believes his charge might have the makings of a Melbourne Cup horse but said he and Debbie would first assess Beauden’s run on Saturday and then discuss future plans with the horse’s breeder and owner Joan Egan.
Rogerson won the 2007 Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington with Efficient.
“He’ll get two miles. He’s such a relaxed horse but we’ll see what Joan decides for the spring,” Rogerson said.
The Rogersons will also produce Capaldi and Masque at Riccarton, while further north at Ellerslie, the pair have Lowry in the Group 2 Trelawney Stud Championship Stakes (2100m) and Te Poropiti in the Listed Staphanos By Deep Impact Champagne Stakes (1600m), expecting bold runs from both.