Thinkin’ Big has stormed to the top of Victoria Derby betting with a dominant Caulfield Classic win, but trainer Gai Waterhouse has not ruled out taking on champion Winx in the Cox Plate.
The colt raced away with yesterday’s Group Three race for three-year-olds and holds entries for next Saturday’s weight-for-age Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, as well as the Derby and the Melbourne Cup.
“We’ll sleep on it tonight,” Waterhouse said of Thinkin’ Big’s spring programme. “We’ve got a few days and we don’t have to make up our mind immediately.
“We’d already discussed it and thought we’ll just see how he comes out of today. There’s a few options. He’s in the Cox Plate. He’s in the Derby. He’s in the Melbourne Cup.
“We brought him down for the Derby, but we’re just going to let the dust settle. It’s a great way of training them. It gives you time to breathe.”
Thinkin’ Big won the Gloaming Stakes in Sydney earlier this spring before finishing third as favourite on a rain-affected track in the Gr. 1 Spring Champion Stakes.
With Tim Clark aboard, Thinkin’ Big crossed to the front yesterday and was full of running around the home turn. His rivals could make no impression as Thinkin’ Big scored by three lengths over Chapada, with two and a quarter lengths to Sikorsky third.
He moved from $7 to $3 for the Victoria Derby in two weeks and Waterhouse said he would stay all day.
“He’s such a talented colt,” Waterhouse said. “The other day (in the Spring Champion) he just got bogged down.
“I just knew if he could get the rails they wouldn’t be able to catch him. I knew he was better than the opposition, but we didn’t see that the other day.”
The Waterhouse/Bott stable and Clark celebrated a double on yesterday’s Caulfield Cup card, with Shumookh scoring in the Gr. 2 Tristarc Stakes.
“It’s been awesome,” Clark said. “Gai and Adrian have been great supporters and it’s great to ride a couple of winners for them. Hopefully it opens up a few more opportunities over the carnival and some other rides, not just for Gai and Adrian.”
Shumookh was given an easy time in front and Clark was able to boot clear in winning by a length and three-quarters from the $2.90 favourite Invincibella with the New Zealand-bred Aloisia a long neck away third.
Clark said switching back to 1400 metres following her last-start fourth at Randwick on October 6 was instrumental in her success.
“I made sure they were really chasing around the home bend to get me and she got through the line strongly,” Clark said. “Once she got a couple of cheap sectionals down the side it was always going to be hard to run her down.”
Waterhouse said she plans to again step Shumookh up to 1600 metres to run in the Gr. 1 Empire Rose Stakes on November 3.
“I just pray the boss (owner) allows us to run in the (Empire Rose), because I’ve always believed she can run a mile,” she said.