Seasoned traveller Aspetar made the most of a look at The Valley before Saturday’s $5 million Cox Plate.
The Roger Charlton-trained Aspetar will make his Australian debut in the Cox Plate but the gelding had never seen a circuit like The Valley on Saturday morning.
Charlton’s travelling foreman Ben James said the experience was not solely about giving Aspetar a gallop around the unique track.
“We took him there thinking it was an experience for the mind as much as the body,” James said.
“He handled the occasion really well.
“Your raceday experience is a lot different to ours so it was nice to get him in the tie-up (stalls) and walk around the mounting yard to take it all in.”
Aspetar has won in three countries in his 13-start career. The six-year-old won a Group 1 race in Germany last year as well as Group 2 contests in England in France.
Aspetar made an unsuccessful trip to Hong Kong in 2019 but James said the experience was invaluable for his latest venture.
“He’s doing really well. He settled in really quickly, within three or four days, he was happy and jumping around the place,” he said.
“Having travelled to Hong Kong last year, he’s well in the routine of it.”
James said Aspetar has completed his fast work before the Cox Plate but would have a light workout at Werribee before Saturday’s contest.
“We’ll just put the last touches on him for Cox Plate day,” James said.
“He’s done enough work and he might have a light piece of work on the grass one day this week, just a nice canter and build up the last furlong.”
TAB has Aspetar as a $13 chance in its latest Cox Plate betting market. James said Aspetar’s form was strong enough to give him a chance of rolling the $3.50 favourite Russian Camelot.
“The form stacks up. He’s a Group 1 winner back in Europe. I think the main competition is here (at Werribee), Armory and Magic Wand and the likes,” James said.
“This has been the plan since July. We’re here to compete.”
Originally published as Cox Plate sight for Aspetar