Raghu failed to settle in Hong Kong but the stallion will be out to remain unbeaten in Australia in Saturday’s Gr.3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Sandown.
Raghu was sold to Hong Kong after an impressive three-year-old season that brought a Listed win over 1600m at Ellerslie and a third placing in the 2016 New Zealand Derby (2400m), beating home the likes of Tavago and Humidor in that race.
The son of Showcasing failed to fire a shot in four Hong Kong runs for the Caspar Fownes stable. Trainer Jason Warren said Ranghu’s owner considered a few options for the horse before opting for the beachside environment at Mornington.
“They weighed up sending him back to Tony Pike but the prizemoney in New Zealand is just not good enough so they decided Australia was the best option for him,” Warren said.
“It was either send him to Chris Waller and go into a city stable or rejuvenate the horse by sending him to a country environment and get him to the beach and that sort of thing. I was lucky enough to be the one to train him.”
Warren said he gave Raghu three months in the spelling paddock “to clear his head’ before the entire made a winning start to his time with the stable in the Peninsula Cup (1600m) at Mornington on November 5.
Raghu’s Mornington win ticked off the first of his two planned stats this time in with the Eclipse Stakes being his main target before he heads back out for another break.
Warren said Raghu has come on since his Mornington run and he should be competitive in the Eclipse Stakes.
“He was about 85 percent fit first-up and he has definitely come on from that,” Warren said. “Even though he’d had three trials, if you saw him in the yard (at Mornington), he still had a bit of condition on him.
“The autumn has always been my target with him. Given that we had to give him a three-month spell when he arrived, we actually targeted the Eclipse Stakes as his grand final for this prep.
“We have given him a settling-in prep with us that is only going to be two runs. He’ll have a month in the paddock and get set for whatever we think is achievable in the autumn.”Jamie Mott rode Raghu to victory first-up but is unable to ride the horse at 54kg on Saturday, leaving apprentice Ben Thompson to take the mount in the Eclipse Stakes
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