By Ray Hickson
A pint-sized winning machine from the Apple Isle, a Group 1 placed South Australian and a Northern Hemisphere bred Victorian unbeaten down under.
They’re The Inevitable, Behemoth and Buffalo River – a trio of talented interstaters targeting a berth in next month’s inaugural $7.5 million The Golden Eagle through Saturday’s $500,000 Silver Eagle (1300m) at Royal Randwick.
Trainers Scott Brunton, David Jolly and Mike Moroney each say they’ve basically set their respective four-year-olds to fire at their Sydney debuts knowing the task that awaits them at Rosehill three weeks later is a much steeper one.
“I can only pray he’s as good as the other horses like Brutal and Arcadia Queen but I’m not trying to get ahead of myself,’’ Brunton said of The Inevitable.
“He’ll derive a lot of benefit out of the run but I’d say I’ve been setting him for this race rather than the next one.’’
The Inevitable has won seven of his nine starts and his only unplaced run was in the Group 1 Australian Guineas behind fellow Tasmanian Mystic Journey.
— Racing.com (@Racing) September 7, 2019
He’s unbeaten this preparation having run down subsequent stakes winner Assertive Approach at Flemington then he put four lengths on the smart Deprive at Moonee Valley a month ago.
Brunton had intended to land in Sydney last week with the gelding but endured a couple of cancelled flights so he trucked the horse to Sydney via an Albury stopover.
He said he’s not concerned about the prospect of a rain-affected track and while he’s only had one gallop in the Sydney direction The Inevitable, while small in stature, is a real competitor.
“He’s raced on one of the heaviest tracks you’ll ever get at Hobart as a two-year-old,’’ he said.
“When he won at Flemington it was heavy but they were down the outside fence and he had the cart off Assertive Approach.
“The horse is just a winner but you’ll have a laugh when you see him in the flesh, he’s very small.
"Every time he’s raced in Tassie he’s always hit the front at the top of the straight and goes through the motions but he seems to be able to chase down whatever is in front of him too.’’
The Inevitable opened $3 favourite with TAB in the Silver Eagle market, while Mike Moroney’s Buffalo River was a $8.50 chance and David Jolly’s Behemoth at $12.
Moroney said Buffalo River, a winner at his only three starts since arriving from the UK, won’t lack in experience in the right handed direction given he’s been targeting this race since he won at Flemington in July.
The gelding has also had two jump outs at Flemington and Moroney is also comfortable with his talents on soft ground.
“We are well aware he’s going to have to go up a few cogs,’’ he said.
“The timing guys here have been saying he’s been running better than winter times and you’d expect him to improve physically.’’
Buffalo River is the lowest rated horse in the Silver Eagle so he will more than likely need a podium finish on Saturday to ensure he makes the cut for the Golden Eagle – and Moroney says nothing short of a top three finish would encourage him to press on.
“We’re well aware we need to run in the first three so we have got him as forward as we can,’’ Moroney said.
“He’ll improve but with what’s going to be around for the Golden Eagle race he’ll have to improve a lot.
“We have a lot of questions to answer with our guy, we’re not sure about the answers yet but we will be wiser on Saturday night.’’
Trainer David Jolly made a point of taking Goodwood runner-up Behemoth to Gosford on Tuesday to give him some experience in the Sydney direction and, like his fellow interstate trainers, wants to make a statement on Saturday.
Jolly was encouraged the gelding’s trial at Gosford where he was beaten six lengths by Redzel in a gallop that was more about experience than results.
“We mainly wanted to give him a look the other way and I wanted more than a one on one gallop,’’ he said.
“We were quite happy with the way he went, obviously they were the A graders and we were just happy to float around the back and get him around the turns.’’
Behemoth won the Listed Penny Edition Stakes in Adelaide at the end of August after running fourth to subsequent Group 1 winner Begood Toya Mother at Caulfield.
Behemoth's trial at Gosford on October 8
“I don’t know a lot about these horses. He’s a talented horse, he almost won a Group 1 in Adelaide but I don’t know how that equates to here,’’ Jolly said.
“He’s a little bit untapped, I don’t think we have got to the bottom of him yet. He likes a bit of tempo in his races and he likes a bit of soft ground.
“It’s going to be a very hot race. This is probably his right race, I’m not sure the Golden Eagle is. You’d like to see him do something in this if he’s going to get anywhere near them in the other race.’’
As Scott Brunton alluded to, the $7.5 million Golden Eagle will likely be topped up class wise with Doncaster winner Brutal, Epsom winner Kolding, star WA mare Arcadia Queen and fellow Everest runners Sunlight, Classique Legend and possibly Ten Sovereigns plus further international competition.
Arcadia Queen is the $3 TAB Golden Eagle favourite, The Inevitable is a $15 chance, Buffalo River at $17 and Behemoth on the $26 line.