The $5 million Cox Plate at Moonee Valley next month is in the back of Goolwa trainer David Jolly’s mind with highly talented Behemoth.
Foremost in his thinking, however, is the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield on September 19 over 1400m, the same track and distance he demolished his rivals in the Memsie Stakes last month.
Then there is the Toorak Handicap at Caulfield on October 10 and Cantala Stakes at Flemington on October 31, both Group 1 races over 1600m in which Behemoth is the early favourite.
But Behemoth is still among the names for the Cox Plate, the prized weight-for-age championship over 2040m on October 24, after second acceptances.
The Cox Plate is not a priority for the gelding, just yet, with Jolly to be guided by his effort next Saturday before confirming future plans.
“It is up in the air after next week,” Jolly said after Behemoth satisfied the stable with a jump out at Murray Bridge on Friday morning.
“We will take it as it comes and work it out from there. The ideal plan is the Toorak and Cantala, although I’m not sure if he would do both or just the Cantala, or whether he wants further and we talk about the Cox Plate.
“The Cox Plate is not our priority at this stage, for a better way of putting it, and we are probably happy with what he is racing in at the moment.
“I suppose there is a question mark on getting the (Cox Plate) trip and I think his ideal trip is 1400m to a mile. But you could say that about his sire (All Too Hard) and he was just beaten in a Cox Plate.
“Behemoth is quite relaxed at the moment, so I would not say he could not do it. Whether we want to stretch him out to that or keep him at what we know.”
Behemoth went to the line with quality sprinter Star Hills, a winner at his past three starts, in the jump out and Jolly said his star galloper did what he had to do.
Jolly said the jump out slotted into Behemoth’s preparation nicely and he will “do something” easy with him on Tuesday.
“We have got him where we want him and he just needed a little hit out,” Jolly said.
“Fortunately these jumps out were on at Murray Bridge and they fitted into the time frame well.”