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Conditions to shape Caulfield Cup field as Bates lands prized ride

“The fact that she’s come out last year and won a good race is definitely a bonus.

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“Some good horses come out here and don’t find their feet but to see her come out last year and she’s run well, that ticks a box for sure.”

Bates said it was a thrill to ride for Mullins for the first time.

“He’s one of the top jumps trainers back home and he gets plenty of flat winners too, so I’ve spent a lot of time back home watching his good horses go around but have never actually rode for one of them back home,” he said.

“I always get my weight very good for the spring in the hope one of these rides will pop up in one of these races and my manager is doing a good job to try and secure these rides.”

The eight-year-old mare ticked the legs over on Sunday morning with stablemate Stratum Albion in what was a quiet day at Werribee’s international quarantine centre.

Dynamic mare True Self winning last year's Queen Elizabeth at Flemington.

Dynamic mare True Self winning last year’s Queen Elizabeth at Flemington.Credit:Getty Images

The 18-horse field won’t be finalised until after Wednesday’s exempt Coongy Handicap, but plenty will hinge on whether Australian Bloodstock decides to run its horses.

Director Jamie Lovett said Chief Ironside didn’t pull up well after running in Saturday’s Toorak, and he would avoid running his horses at Caulfield if the track did not soften.

“Raheen House, Mustajeer and Mugatoo potentially could all run if conditions were to suit, but if it looks like it’ll be any chance of ground like yesterday, I won’t run any at Caulfield on that,” Lovett said.

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“We’d probably wait and run Mustajeer in the St Leger at Randwick, likewise we could even bring Raheen back for that too, and Mugatoo, if he made the Cox Plate field he could run in that a week later.”

Joseph O’Brien’s four imports – Pondus, Buckhurst, Master Of Reality and Twilight Payment – all had a light gallop on Sunday, with Twilight Payment completing a fast piece of work on his own afterwards.

He and Twilight Payment will bypass Saturday’s Caulfield Cup and run first-up in the Melbourne Cup, while Buckhurst is set to run in the $5 million handicap under Ben Melham.

Meanwhile, Dashing Willoughby also had a light day ahead of the Caulfield Cup.

Jockey Michael Walker rode him on Saturday morning and the Andrew Balding-trained horse will have one more blowout on Wednesday before the race.

Aidan O’Brien’s Cox Plate runners Armory and Magic Wand also completed a fast piece of work together on Sunday as they tune up for the weight-for-age race in a fortnight’s time.

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