Melbourne Cup champion Gold Trip has stamped his authority on upcoming spring majors with an unbelievable performance in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).

In his first trip back to Headquarters since the first Tuesday in November last year, the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Gold Trip swamped rivals to win by 1¾ lengths from international raider West Wind Blows.

An emotional Maher lauded Gold Trip’s breathtaking performance.

“That really gets you going, doesn’t it?” Maher said.

“He put the writing on the wall with his run at The Valley and you just look at him in the yard, he looks amazing. The team have done an unbelievable job. The horse is pristine.

“It’s probably his best win, if you can say that from a Melbourne Cup winner, but he was dynamic today and very impressive. I can’t wait to see what Mark (Zahra) thinks.”

Soulcombe put in a strong Cups trial also, ridden for luck on the rail to run third ahead of Hong Kong superstar Romantic Warrior, the $2.40 fixed price favourite.

Nothing rivalled Gold Trip, who idled last in the run, hooked widest and walloped a hot field.

With the Caulfield Cup in a fortnight and Cox Plate seven days later, Maher has decisions to make.

Zahra too, with the big race jockey committed to Caulfield Cup equal favourite Without A Fight.

Weight would be a major consideration also, with 58.5kg Cups topweight Gold Trip exposed to a penalty with victory in the Caulfield Cup.

He placed second in the race last year.

The Cox Plate would be a free hit, handicapping wise, for the dual Group 1 winner, who was unlucky in weight-for-age championship last year.

“We’ll see. I think Mark will be trying to push us towards the Cox Plate now because I think he might have one in the Caulfield Cup,” Maher said.

“But anyway he might have a bit of thinking to do now.

“He’s (Gold Trip) good at a mile-and-a-half (2400m), the weather plays into it, you see how dynamic he was with a bit of cut in the track today. I couldn’t be happier.”

Zahra, who won the Turnbull in 2020 aboard Verry Elleegant before the champion mare trained on to win the Caulfield Cup, made his thoughts on Gold Trip’s next start known.

“He’s got to go to the Cox Plate, surely,” Zahra said.

“They were a few of his major rivals there and the way he won why wouldn’t you go there?

“I just love being on his back. If they’ve got any brains then they’ll go to the Cox Plate (instead of the Caulfield Cup) … It’ll all work out perfectly for everyone.”

Gold Trip firmed $17 into $11 with TAB for the Caulfield Cup after the Turnbull triumph and $11 into $9 for the Cox Plate. His Melbourne Cup quote was slashed $15 into $8.

Thanks to Racenet  Original Article 

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Gilbert Gardiner

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