Sticking solid with a young rider could land Ballarat trainer Matt Cumani a Melbourne Cup runner via Saturday’s Bart Cummings (2510m) at Flemington.
Apprentice Michael Poy has steered Creedence to three wins from four outings since the stayer joined Cumani’s team earlier this year.
Creedence’s impressive form has earned him a shot at the Melbourne Cup ballot exemption that is on the line for the winner of The Bart Cummings.
Spring carnivals are famous for the jockey merry-go-round but Cumani was happy to stick with Poy for the biggest race of Creedence’s 31-start career.
“I hate all this switching of jockeys to be honest,” Cumani said.
“It’s not as if I don’t value skill and experience but I also heavily value the idea of a team and confidence and faith.
“I also value the idea of a bond between horse and jockey. I think what we would gain in experience, we’d lose in understanding the horse and understanding his quirks.
“I think Michael has understood him brilliantly, what he’s like and how he performs.”
Matt Cumani will run Creedence in The Bart Cummings at Flemington. Pic: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia
Cumani said Poy had quickly understood the son of Helmet’s mannerisms but he said the partnership has come along at the right time for the six-year-old.
Creedence has thrived since arriving at Cumani’s stable from the Lindsay Park operation. Cumani said adjusting Creedence’s race tactics was the key to his consistent form.
“If I can put my finger on one thing that we’ve done differently, it’s that we’ve be riding home more positively,” Cumani said.
“What we’ve been able to do is exploit his handicap mark at the 2000m and now we have to step up in distance.”
But Cumani said Creedence has raced himself out of open class 2000m, meaning he had to step up in trip to continue winning races.
He was unsure whether that winning run would continue against stronger opposition in the $500,000 Bart Cummings.
“We think we’re able to counteract the fact he’s in a harder race by finding improvement over a longer distance,” Cumani said.
“It’s worked well timing-wise because he goes into the Bart Cummings off a light weight and a low mark.
“Whether he can do it on Saturday on not, I don’t know, but we’ve given him every opportunity.”
TAB has Creedence as a $16 chance in Bart Cummings betting. The Chris Waller-trained Shared Ambition is the $4.80 favourite in an open market.
Originally published asLoyalty could bring Melbourne Cup start
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