Volkstok’n’barrell had a bumper three-year-old campaign, collecting the Rosehill Guineas over the 2000m, now the four-year-old’s connections have an eye on the Cox Plate.
Winning six of his 10 starts as a three-year-old as well as finishing third behind Mongolian Khan in the Australian Derby in April, Volkstok’n’barrell enjoyed a nice break in New Zealand.
Now the gelding is set to resume in the Memsie Stakes and co-trainer Chris Gibbs, who is in partnership with Donna Logan is quietly confident, even if he is keeping a close eye on Logan’s former horse Rising Romance, now trained by the David Hayes-Tom Dabernig duo.
“We’re coming over and racing against some great horses and one of the most interesting is Donna’s ex-horse Rising Romance,” Gibbs said.
“She’s usually quite forward and that will be interesting to see how she looks and runs on the day.
“We tossed around the idea of running him (Volkstok’n’barrell) at home in the Makfi at Hastings but decided we had him where we want him.
“That’s why we jumped on the plane and brought him over.”
Volkstok’n’barrell is the second favourite at $8.50 behind Boban at $4.80 for Saturday’s race – Gibbs says it will be interesting to see how he comes up in the race.
“He’s a hard horse to get a line on fitness wise,” Gibbs said.
“This time we’ve come over fresh rather than just maintaining him as we did in Sydney.”
With the Cox Plate the main aim, getting through Saturday’s race in good order is paramount and if he does he will likely follow a traditional path to the Plate.
Next up it will be the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington, followed by the Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Stakes with the Cox Plate three weeks later.
With a long career around horses behind him Gibbs says Volstok’n’barrell reminds him of a champion horse he once rode.
That horse is 1995 Melbourne Cup-winner Doriemus, who Gibbs rode as a youngster, before he achieved the peak of his racing career as a five-year-old.
According to Gibbs the two are similar in the type of feeling they give the rider.
“He’s a beautiful ride but he tests you out sometimes as he’s such a laid back character,” Gibbs said of the four-year-old son of Tavistock.
If he can kick off his campaign equalling Doriemus’ best Memsie performance of third in the 1997 edition of the race, Volkstok’n’barrell might just provide similar thrills throughout the spring.
Article from justhorseracing.com.au