Jockey Ben Melham will begin a strict weight lose program to ride Folding Gear in the Caulfield Cup after the five year old took out the Group 3 $150,000 D’Urban Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield today.

Folding Gear and Mr O'Ceirin

Folding Gear (pictured left) wins the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes from Mr O'Ceirin. Photo by: Race Horse Photos Australia

The Lee and Shannon Hope trained Folding Gear goes straight into the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20 after escaping the ballot with the Naturalism win.

Melham is confident he will be able to get down to the 51kg that Folding Gear is handicapped with in the Caulfield Cup and is certain the effort will be rewarded.

“He’s a class galloper, it’s worthwhile. Shannon’s done a great job with this horse,” Melham said.

Folding Gear isn’t in the same boat as Melham with Hope saying that his Group 2 winner won’t need a lot of work and will go into Caulfield Cup without another run.

“As this stage we’re aiming at it now that we are exempt from ballot, but we’ll see how he comes through it,” Hope said.

“Look we’re aiming at it, but it’s not the end of the world if we don’t get there.”

“It was run to suit, very well ridden. We’ll see how he pulls up and will aim at it. He won’t have another run going into it, I don’t think I need it. He doesn’t take lot of work, one of those horses that you have to keep a bit above himself, that’s why we’ve spaced his runs three weeks apart.”

Glen Boss gave Mr O’Ceirin a great sight and after setting up the tempo in front kicked clear in the straight before being run down by Folding Gear over the last 50m.

Favourite Zurella was always well back in the field and after Craig Newitt pulled her out wide on the home turn never really got hot in the straight.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.