Trainer Grahame Begg is one person thrilled with the Melbourne Racing Club’s changes to this year’s spring carnival.
The MRC has moved September’s Group 1 Underwood Stakes from Caulfield to Sandown but has also pushed back the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) to the last Saturday in November.
That date shift, moving the race to Caulfield and boosting the prizemoney to $750,000, appealed to Begg when he was deciding the spring plans for promising filly Butter Chicken.
Butter Chicken showed she was a stayer of the future in her first campaign, which culminated with a strong second in the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) in February.
Begg said the rising four-year-old’s low handicap rating would make it tough for her to make the Caulfield Cup field but Butter Chicken had enough time to force her way into the Zipping Classic.
“I don‘t know about her being a Cups horse at this stage,” he said.
“Number one, her rating wouldn’t be high enough and she’s probably starting off a bit late.
“Since they have rejigged the carnival around, I’d say a race like the Zipping Classic would be a very realistic target.
“I would say we‘ve got to get her rating up, no matter what we want to run her in, and other realistic targets would be the mares’ races, the Matriarch Stakes or something like that.”
Grahame Begg is a fan of the later timeslot for Zipping Classic. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Begg said Butter Chicken starts her spring campaign on Friday.
He said Butter Chicken’s late start to her career ensured the daughter of Savabeel still had plenty of improvement left in her going into her four-year-old season.
“She was broken in and educated in New Zealand then she needed more time so by the time she got over here, she had a cold or something like that, which stopped her again,” Begg said.
“It was nothing major but a few little niggly things happened to stop her along the way.
“Really, she‘s probably more working towards next year because she started her career so late and being so lightly-raced, only having three starts to date.”
Originally published asBegg to Butter up in revamped Zipping
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