Roger Charlton and Tony Bloom have confirmed that Withhold will compete in the Bet365 Geelong Cup this weekend, as they look to force their way into the Melbourne Cup.
Withhold still isn’t guaranteed a place in the 24-horse race, currently being ranked at number 36 in the order of entry. He was overtaken by recent Caulfield Cup runner-up Homesman, further putting his chances at risk, though he is one of a number of horses in the pecking order who are believed to be looking elsewhere.
Still, with no place guaranteed, Charlton and Bloom have decided to be proactive by ensuring they leave nothing to chance in entering the five-year-old at this weekend’s Geelong Cup in an attempt to squeeze into the top 24.
Withhold will now be one of 16 competing in the Group 3 handicap, with the prize money sitting at £190,000, as Charlton admitted the reputation of the race saw them go with it over the Caulfield Cup, which is historically a tougher race.
"It has a slight reputation for being the easiest prep, which suits us," he told the Racing Post.
"The Caulfield Cup’s quite a big target because of the prize-money, whereas we’re obviously targeting the big one [Melbourne Cup]. It’s also a fairer track for a horse of his style.
"He definitely could have improved again. He’s lightly raced, it’s been a really long process and everyone has put a lot of hard work into getting him here."We’ve had a few niggly things throughout the year at Beckhampton, so if it could all come together it would mean a lot to everyone."