Life's a Beach in the Land of Plenty

Oct 06, 2017

The peaceful and pristine surrounds of Balnarring Beach along with the therapeutic waters of Westernport Bay were the ideal venue for the Grahame Begg trained Land of Plenty on Thursday morning.

The Pinecliff based Begg has this past week called on all his horsemanship and training skills to have Land of Plenty ready to back up into the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday just six days after his huge yet torrid run in the Group 1 Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) last Sunday at Caulfield.

Land Of Plenty was never better than three or four horses off the fence for the majority of the Rupert Clarke from his outside draw yet was beaten just 3 lengths behind eventual winner Santa Ana Lane. Not only did he endure a very tough run in transit but he also had to deal with the after effects of the Good 3 Caulfield surface.

"He jarred up pretty badly and was a pretty stiff and sore horse on Monday morning so we immediately went into recovery mode in an effort to have him ready for the Gilgai this Saturday" said Begg

"The horse has been to the beach, had some cold water spa treatment at Pinecliff and just basically done nothing since the race". "But testament to his toughness and attitude come Friday morning he was back nice and free in himself and had almost put back on all of the weight that he'd lost from the Rupert Clarke run". "I don't know if and how well he'll back up from last Sunday as you just don't fully know until they return to raceday pressure, but right now I'm very satisfied that I've got him back to where he was (in himself) going into the Rupert Clarke".

Begg concedes the horse will have to defy all and any recent history in winning the Gilgai as no horse has successfully backed up from the Rupert Clarke into the Gilgai as they sit in the current week apart format. But Begg believes Land of Plenty is at his best down the Flemington straight and wants to give the horse his chance.

"His run in the Bobby Lewis (down the straight) behind Group 1 winners Redkirk Warrior and Scales of Justice was a career best in my opinion". "The Rupert Clarke wasn't in the original plans laid out for the horse after his Caulfield first up run but being a Stallion the owners wanted to have a go at the Group 1 and the horse performed outstandingly well". "With a better draw and luck the horse definitely runs in the placings for mine".

"The aftermath to Caulfield wasn't ideal but he's now ready to go again and Begg believes a repeat of the Bobby Lewis run would have him right in the mix"

"The conditions and weight scale of the race aren't perfect for him and admittedly the six day back up is not the preferred path into the race but if Dwayne (Dunn) can weave a little magic from his inside barrier then hopefully the horse can present and give it a shake". "There's not much speed in the race but I don't mind this as coming back from 1400m this might give him a better chance to travel and at the end of the day those first up horses have still got to be strong at the end of the 1200m down the straight". "It's more of a fingers crossed from my end but I certainly believe he's good enough if he backs up"

Begg will also be represented at Flemington by promising young stayer Il Divo in the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m).

"The Punters can forget the Caulfield run as I was only using it as a stepping stone to this race and for mine his run was a lot better than it reads on paper". "It was a walk, trot, canter and then sprint home and that type of race over 1600m at Caulfield was completely unsuitable for him". "That said Jake (Noonan) still felt like the horse went very well and would have finished closer if not for being tightened and squeezed at the 150m". 'If ever a track was tailored made for a horse it's Flemington for Il Divo". "He's a huge long striding horse who lengthens rather than sprints so the wide open spaces and big turns will give him a chance to build momentum". "He'll also relish the 1800m". "The further the better!". "We targeted this race as an initial goal this preparation and I believe he's ready to run very well". "If they make it a good strong test then this horse can certainly be competitive against these horses and for mine he's well over the odds".