THE lure of a ticket to the $2 million Big Dance was the attraction behind Anthony and Sam Freedman's decision to send Ain'tnodeeldun to Wagga for Friday's $200,000 Gold Cup.
Murrumbidgee Turf Club (MTC) received a boost a fortnight out from the Wagga Gold Cup with confirmation the listed race would be a qualifier for the Big Dance, to be held at Randwick on the first Tuesday in November.
It was expected the carrot would help drive the quality of the Gold Cup field and Ain'tnodeeldun is one horse that is Wagga bound purely to try and qualify for the new feature race.
Freedman stable racing manager Brad Taylor revealed that was the reason behind their decision to target Wagga.
"Obviously we'd love to qualify him for The Big Dance on Cup day, that's our aim and that's why we're there," Taylor said.
The Freedman stable have scratched top weight Warning from the Gold Cup, choosing to head to Warrnambool instead after drawing an outside barrier at Wagga.
The stable is bullish about the chances of Ain'tnodeeldun, who will be ridden by former Southern District jockey Tim Clark from barrier 12.
Taylor revealed the Freedman team made the decision to pull the trigger on blinkers for the first time in a bid to ensure he is at the peak of his powers at Wagga.
MORE SPORT NEWS
"He'll run a good race," Taylor said.
"He obviously had a long time off with his injury so it's taken a long time to get back to the races and get to full fitness. Obviously being a colt and having 12 months ago, he's improved with each run this time.
"Fourth up, he's going to be spot on and with the addition of blinkers, which we find is a real positive with the progeny of Dundeel, he should be pretty hard to beat in a race like that."
Ain'tnodeeldun is only lightly-raced with only 10 starts to his name. He won three races in a row last preparation, progressing from a maiden winner to recording back-to-back listed wins at Morphettville and Flemington before injury struck.
He was out for over 12 months with a fractured hip that threatened his career.
He returned at Flemington in March and his last two runs have suggested he is nearing a return to his best, running second behind Grandslam in the $250,000 VOBIS Gold Heath (2000m) last start.
Taylor said with an eye on the Big Dance, the stable decided it was time to add blinkers and believe they will help him go to another level on Friday.
"We've tinkered with winkers as a three-year-old and left (the blinkers) off. We just want to put them on," he said.
"He's become just a little bit dour with the preparation he's had. He's obviously had a long preparation, long slow work to get him fit, he's become a little bit dour but he's in good order, he's worked really well in the blinkers at home, his work on Tuesday morning was probably the best of his preparation.
"We're looking forward to it."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.