WARRNAMBOOL trainer Patrick Ryan is hoping rags-to-riches gelding Caroun can deliver him one of the biggest wins of his career.
Ryan will leave the south-west at 5.30am today bound for Flemington, where Caroun will start in the $100,000 Carnival Handicap over 2800 metres.
The six-year-old has attracted 54 kilograms and will jump from barrier five. Jockey Peter Mertens has the ride.
Ryan was yesterday upbeat about how Caroun, a $3000 purchase, had progressed since arriving at his stable six months ago.
“You’ll see in the Melbourne Cup, the Aga Khan is having his first runner. It’s a mare called Verema,” he said.
“This horse (Caroun) was bred and owned by the Aga Khan. A syndicate purchased him a couple of years ago from France.
“He didn’t live up to their expectations. He was running terrible. They put him through a dispersal sale in Scone six months ago.
“I bought him for $3000 and he’s slowly coming good. We paid about one per cent of what they paid for him.
“He’s a brother to a multiple group 1 winner overseas.
“He was just cheap and I thought he’d make a good jumper.”
Caroun, by Montjeu out of Carlitta, heads into today’s race on the back of a promising second over 3000m at Moonee Valley on October 25.
His last win was at Ballarat over 3000m on a heavy track on August 15.
Ryan said a lack of pace in Australian staying races had worked against Caroun.
He was confident the 18-horse field today would ensure a high-tempo race.
“He’s a bit too dourly bred for Australia. He’s bred to be a 4000m horse,” Ryan said.
“What we’re hoping is they go really fast and it’s the fittest-will-survive kind of race.
“The races he’s finished out of the places, they’ll dawdle along and then sprint home.
“He likes it if they set a tempo and they’re gasping for air. If there was rain about, he’d be better as well.
“Any harder, the elements and anything that makes it more of a slog, the more he likes it.”
Caroun is one of two south-west-trained horses racing on the biggest day of the Spring Racing Carnival at Flemington.
Camperdown trainer Geoff Daffy has accepted for five-year-old gelding Sabres to start in the $100,000 Emirates Airline Plate over 1400m.
Sabres, by Elusive Quality out of Duel at Daybreak, ran third of seven at Hamilton over 1200m at his last start.
The first of 10 races is at 10.20am.