The Melbourne Cup dream is still flickering for connections of Carif and they will roll the dice one final time in a last-ditch bid to get him into the race.
The stayer, who sports the black and white checked silks with yellow sleeves made famous by the late Dato Tan Chin Nam, is number 36 in the latest Cup order of entry.
But a win in the Hotham Stakes (2500m) will vault him into Tuesday’s race and while trainers Peter and Paul Snowden know it’s a long shot, they haven’t given up hope.
Carif finished runner-up to Downdraft in the corresponding race last year and Peter Snowden says the horse is in better form than his unplaced Moonee Valley Cup performance suggests.
“His run at Moonee Valley was OK. He wasn’t in the right place, he (jockey Kerrin McEvoy) made two runs on the horse early and had him up outside the leader, which is not his place,” Snowden said.
“Just little things didn’t go right for us.
“But he’s drawn one on Saturday, it’s a lovely race for him and it won’t surprise if he comes out and runs a blinder because he has pulled up really well.”
With Attorney an early scratching, Brimham Rocks is the only one of the 10 Hotham runners not paid up for the Melbourne Cup.
The remaining nine are all jostling for the final spot in the Group One field.
Carif will need to lift to turn his form around and the Snowdens will be looking for similar improvement from King’s Legacy when the three-year-old takes on the older horses in the Cantala Stakes.
The colt appeared to be building nicely in two Sydney runs, including a Golden Rose third, but he disappointed when he failed to make headway in the Caulfield Guineas.
Snowden is at a loss to explain the performance and is hoping King’s Legacy simply had a disliking for the track.
“I don’t know what it was. I know he’s never done it before and hopefully never does it again,” Snowden said.
“If there was anything wrong I would have brought him home but I can’t find anything wrong with him. He’s too good a horse not to give him a chance.”
The stable will also start I Am Superman in the 1600m feature, the horse blotting his spring copybook when he finished down the track in the Toorak Handicap.
Snowden said I Am Superman got too far back against his usual on-speed pattern and predicted a much better performance at Flemington.