Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes will determine whether star Kiwi four-year-old Volkstok’n’barrell progresses to the BMW Caulfield Cup or sticks on a William Hill Cox Plate program.
Trainer Donna Logan entered the preparation thinking the $3 million Cox Plate (2040m) would be the gelding’s most suitable spring target, but a first-up seventh in the 1400m Memsie Stakes on 29 August brought the 2400m Caulfield Cup back into the equation.
“That also will determine in which direction we’re going to head,” Logan said.
“If he’s a bit dour we’ve got the Caulfield Cup on our hit list and if he’s sharp enough we can continue on to the Cox Plate.
“I think the fact that he’s a lot stronger this time in he would cope with the 2400 a lot better, but obviously he may well just surprise us all and show that he’s a very good Cox Plate chance.”
Volkstok’n’barrell will be part of a capacity Makybe Diva Stakes field that also includes Caulfield Cup winner and last year’s Cox Plate runner-up Fawkner, Memsie Stakes winner Boban, Australian Derby winner Mongolian Khan and gun four-year-old Alpine Eagle.
Craig Williams, who partnered Volkstok’n’barrell to win the Rosehill Guineas before surrendering the Memsie ride to Blake Shinn, will be back aboard for the Makybe Diva Stakes.
“Craig Williams gave him a glowing report after riding him in a track gallop yesterday,” Logan said.
“He’s not right 100 per cent stripping fit, but he’s going to go pretty good (on Saturday) I think. I think he’s still in with a chance if things go in his direction.”
News from Brad Bishop, Racing.com