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Efficient Aims At 2009 Melbourne Cup

A LEISURELY gallop between races at Bendigo yesterday and a similar stretch of the legs in a Cranbourne trial today represent the first tentative steps back to the big time for two of Australia’s greatest gallopers.

Efficient, the 2007 Melbourne Cup winner, appeared to gallop with zest as he strode out between races at Bendigo. And El Segundo, who won the 2007 Cox Plate 10 days before Efficient won the Cup, will be one of several stars to step out at the crucial pre-spring trials at Cranbourne.

Efficient and stablemate C’Est La Guerre worked over 1600m between the first and second races and quickened up in the straight.

Efficient gave his stablemate, who ran third in last year’s Melbourne Cup, about a length’s break on the turn and ran him to a neck. Stablemates Renewable and Zipping had a similar workout half an hour later.

Efficient’s gallop was a small, important step in the long road back. He went amiss after the 2008 Turnbull Stakes last spring with a fetlock injury. It is believed owner Lloyd Williams plans to give Efficient a light preparation into this year’s Cup.

El Segundo has also had his share of problems. He was ruled out of racing last year with a leg injury and returned this summer with two runs before being rested.

Senior part-owner Don Howell said today’s 800m trial would indicate if El Segundo could stand up to the rigours of another Cox Plate campaign. El Segundo is due to resume in Saturday’s Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.

“The nominations and acceptances for the Cox Plate are pretty expensive,” Howell said. “We’d like to know how he’s going first.”

Howell said reports from trainer Colin Little were so far, so good with El Segundo, whose most niggling on-going injury has been to a joint.

Today’s trails feature an all-star cast, including three-year-olds Wanted and Tickets, both newcomers to the Peter Moody stable.

Moody said the former Sydney-trained youngsters would “have a bowl around” at Cranbourne before resuming at Caulfield on Saturday week.

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