Horsham trainer Paul Preusker has elected to spell his staying star Surprise Baby and as a result he will bypass the Zipping Classic.
Preusker said he wasn’t completely satisfied with Surprise Baby’s gallop on Wednesday morning at Hamilton and he didn’t accept with him for the Sandown Group Two race over 2400 metres.
“He had a stretch out and he wasn’t quite where I wanted him to be,” Preusker said.
“He’s not 100 per cent and it’s probably the right time to put him out and chase a bit of spring grass.
“I was looking forward to him starting at Sandown with the sting out of the track but you don’t want to take him there and waste a run.
“It’s only eight days since the Melbourne Cup and he hasn’t quite recovered.”
Preusker said he would spell Surprise Baby and then set him for the $5 million All-Star Mile at Moonee Valley on March 13 next year.
“There’s plenty of races but a race like that over a mile would suit him,” Preusker said.
“We’ll put him out and he’ll be good for the autumn. There’s plenty of races to pick from.”
First-up this campaign, Surprise Baby finished second to Humidor in the Feehan Stakes over 1600 metres at Moonee Valley.
He then finished ninth in the Turnbull Stakes which was his lead-in run to the Melbourne Cup.
Preusker said he would again target the Melbourne Cup for a third time next year after Surprise Baby finished fifth in 2019 but only 13th this year when he started a $6 favourite.
“You need a lot of luck in a Melbourne Cup and it was one of those runs. Things didn’t go right early,” he said.
Racing Victoria stewards noted that Surprise Baby was hampered in the straight the first time during the Melbourne Cup.
Preusker also pointed out that Surprise Baby ran a faster time this year than he did in 2019.