David Jolly is hoping a win in the Group One Memsie Stakes will prove more than adequate compensation for missing the Queensland winter with his giant galloper Behemoth.
Behemoth had two starts during the Adelaide racing carnival for a win in the McKay Stakes and a fourth in The Goodwood in May.
Jolly had planned to take him to Queensland for the rich winter carnival after that, but when it was scaled back due to COVID-19, he pulled the plug.
Instead, Jolly gave the horse a couple of quiet weeks which he described as “a breather” then put him back into work.
Behemoth resumed with a win over Dalasan at Morphettville in the Group Three Spring Stakes and on Saturday he will chase his maiden Group One win in the Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
The trainer believes Behemoth could have a slight fitness edge over some of his main rivals.
“He’s a bit more forward than some of them fitness-wise. Others are coming back from a spell and being set for races down the track,” Jolly said.
“Having said that, I certainly haven’t screwed him down.
“He was very good the other day. He had a two-run preparation to get to the Goodwood then he had a little let-up after that.
“I haven’t over-taxed him to get to here.”
Behemoth, who will be ridden by Craig Williams, has drawn barrier two and although he usually drifts back in the field, Jolly believes he will stay in touch with the leaders on Saturday.
“He was a little bit slow away the other day but over 1400 metres he’ll have a bit of time to get some sort of a spot,” Jolly said.
Behemoth stands 17 hands and weighs 600 kilograms and Jolly said the horse needed a lot of time to grow into his frame and as a result had been lightly raced.
“His trip to Sydney last year brought him right on. He’s matured a lot because of the travelling,” Jolly said.
Jolly will be watching the Memsie from the Morphettville races on Saturday.
He plans to send Behemoth to trainer Colin Little’s stables for this run and after that the horse will be prepared from the property of co-trainers Jason Warren and Dean Krongold.
“It’s going to be too hard to bring him back and forth. Jason and Dean’s place is similar to mine so that’s where he will head,” Jolly said.
Jolly said his initial plans were to target handicap races such as the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and Toorak Handicap but that could change if he wins the Memsie.
Jolly is searching for his second Group One win and first in Melbourne.