Mike Moroney’s plan to have two runners in the Caulfield Cup was scuppered when he had to scratch outsider Aktau from the race due to injury.
Moroney’s veterinary surgeon informed him after trackwork on Thursday that Aktau had pulled up with a slight leg injury, which was later diagnosed to be a small tendon lesion.
Aktau secured a start in the Caulfield Cup by winning the Mornington Cup earlier in the year but his form this campaign had been below par, which Moroney found hard to understand.
First emergency Raheen House has gained a run and Daniel Moor, who was to have ridden Aktau, will now partner the Kris Lees-trained galloper.
Moroney is left with Chapada as his only chance to secure his first Caulfield Cup on Saturday and he’s upbeat about his prospects.
Chapada also gained a start by winning a ballot exempt race which was last Saturday’s Herbert Power Stakes.
That followed a brilliant first-up second to Orderofthegarter in the Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield.
Moroney said Chapada always had Group One ability but as a four-year-old he didn’t live up to expectations, which was typical of many horses that age.
“You could argue he should have won the Victoria Derby and the Rosehill Guineas as a three-year-old as he had little luck when placed third in both races,” Moroney said.
“If he had won one of them, or both of them, he wouldn’t be getting into a Caulfield Cup with such a light weight of 50-1/2 kilos,” Moroney said.
“I’ve always had confidence in him as he’s a really nice horse.”
Chapada will be ridden by Jye McNeil and has drawn barrier 16, while English raider Anthony Van Dyck has been deposed as favourite after drawing barrier 21.
“I think he’s a winning chance. He came through the Herbert Power really well and he’s a natural mile-and-a-half horse,” Moroney said.
“He’s had a relaxing week and I haven’t had to do any fast work with him.
“He’s adaptable in a race. If they are going slow he can switch off and he’s capable of making a forward move. If there isn’t a lot of speed, Jye (McNeil) can go forward on him.
“He’s ticked a lot of boxes going into a Caulfield Cup.”