Craig Williams has given European galloper Arod the tick of approval ahead of the Emirates Stakes at Flemington.
The champion jockey ventured to Werribee on Wednesday morning to partner Arod in a gallop ahead of the $1 million race.
Williams rode Arod in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley last month when finishing 11th behind Winx.
A trip to Sandown last week and a strong workout on Wednesday has Williams confident of a forward showing despite drawing barrier 15 in the 16 horse line-up.
Williams said the pattern of racing on the opening two days of the Flemington carnival should suit Arod.
The son of Teofilo likes to race on the pace and Williams said he should again take up a prominent position.
“Two of the main chances are going to be Turn Me Loose and my horse and thank god we haven’t got The Cleaner in there as well,” Williams said.
“It’s going to be a highly competitive race.
“I’m much happier going into Saturday’s race, compared to the Cox Plate.
“He’s more tuned up now and he’ll turn out a much fitter and ready racehorse.”
Williams went out with the intention of restricting Arod to running 14 seconds per 200m on Wednesday but the five-year-old went quicker covering the ground easily.
He heads into Saturday’s race thinking Arod is going to be a much more manageable horse.
And he said coming back to 1600m on the roomier Flemington track is a much better fit for Arod.
Gailo Chop and Side Glance are recent examples of European Cox Plate competitors to head to Flemington and win at their next outing.
“The Cox Plate is a unique race on a unique track,” he said.
Williams said the weather will be another ingredient in Arod’s chances as he requires racing on top of the ground.
Early betting on the Emirates Stakes suggests a wide-open affair.
Magic Artist, trained by Andreas Wohler and the unlucky runner from last week’s Mackinnon Stakes, is the $5 favourite ahead of Turn Me Loose and Bow Creek at $5.50.
Arod is a $9.50 chance.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au