Fitter Khoekhoe on song for Derby assault

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Matt Cumani believes the key to Khoekhoe running out the distance of the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick is having the freshness raced out of him.

Khoekhoe was too keen in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on March 27 when sixth to Mo’unga after settling second behind Grandslam.

Cumani said the five weeks between races was detrimental for Khoekhoe who had run third at his previous outing over 1800m at Caulfield on February 20.

“The key is to get him to go into the Derby a little bit less fresh,” Cumani said.

“He was doing a bit of bucking and mucking around in the mounting yard and ran with the choke out and hit the front a bit too soon.

“I would like to see him settle just forward of midfield, have something to chase to the line and have enough in the tank to see the trip out.

“That last race did raise a few questions for him not appearing to stay, but all his other races point towards him running the Derby distance.

“Physically he’s that sort of horse as well. If he can relax in running that will help him stay the trip.”

Cumani had based his training of Khoekhoe on having four weeks between runs.

However heavy rain fell in Sydney forcing the cancellation of the Golden Slipper meeting which in turn pushed the Rosehill Guineas back a week.

“Four weeks I thought I could manage and I liked the idea of that,” Cumani said.

“That gave us a bit of time to practise going right-handed, but five weeks in hindsight was too much.

“If we had known, we would have given him a barrier trial, but he’s worked very well since.

“I’m looking forward to the race. I think he’ll run well.”

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