It’s already been a memorable week for David and Emma-Lee Browne and it may well end on another top note for the husband-and-wife training duo.
They are in the process of moving their operation from Cambridge to Victoria with David arriving at Cranbourne this week with Elephant and Rhinoceros, who will step out at Flemington on Saturday.
Bold showings from the pair would crown a satisfying few days with Elephant on Wednesday earning a guaranteed berth in the A$5 million All-Star Mile (1600m) on March 19 with 5,141 votes to qualify in eighth spot.
“They travelled over well and got to the stables about 8.30pm on Wednesday and had a little jog around this morning,” Browne said.
“That was fantastic news for Elephant to make the field and makes it pretty exciting times, that’s for sure.”
Browne, whose wife will join him after she has tied up all the loose ends in Cambridge, currently has his small team boarding with fellow expatriate Kiwi trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young before taking charge of 40 boxes at Cranbourne on March 1.
“We’ve got nine more horses flying over on March 2 and one more load after that,” he said.
Successful in the Gr.3 Sandown Stakes (1500m) in the spring, Elephant hasn’t raced since he finished third in the Gr.2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley in October and is expected to be a force to be reckoned with in the Listed The Elms Handicap (1400m) on Saturday.
“He looks really well and with it being a handicap he will carry his fair share of weight (60kg), but he has earned it. It’s a good kick-off point for him,” Browne said.
“He’s pretty forward and he’s had two quiet trials and he should be spot on and run a pretty reasonable race.”
The path to the All-Star Mile for the son of Shocking, who will be ridden by his regular spring partner Damian Lane, will become clearer after his resuming outing at Flemington.
“We could start him in the Blamey Stakes (Gr.2, 1600m) in two weeks or we could go straight into the All-Star with a jump-out here at Cranbourne in between,” Browne said.
“We’ll just play that by ear and get the weekend out of the way first.”
Rhinoceros will take on a competitive line-up in the Gr.3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) and will be reunited with Jordan Childs, who guided the Vadamos colt to spring victories at Caulfield and at Moonee Valley.
He was spelled after an unplaced run in the Crystal Mile and resumed with a decent effort for fourth from a wide barrier in the Gr.3 Almanzor Trophy (1200m) at Ellerslie last month.
“He’s very well and has had a run under his belt, but it is a tough race on Saturday and will be the fork in the road for him really,” Browne said.
“It will tell us whether to drop off to the side and look for the three-year-old Benchmark races so there’s a few options for him.”
By contrast, a bold performance from Rhinoceros could see him continue on a path toward the Gr.1 Australian Guineas (1600m) and a future option to try him over more ground.
“Hopefully, with the blinkers off he can be ridden a bit quieter and finish off strongly in the CS Hayes and if we can get him to settle then there’s no reason why he shouldn’t suit 2000m,” Browne said.