ONE month after taking on the world at the Melbourne Cup, Horsham racehorse Surprise Baby is enjoying a well-deserved rest.
Trainer Paul Preusker said the five-year-old stayer had been given an elongated spell on his paddock at McKenzie Creek, before it begins its journey toward the 2020 Melbourne Cup.
"They always do (enjoy the rest). The paddock is the spot for them," Preusker said.
"He's still spelling at the moment, and he'll spell for a little bit longer before he resumes again."
There is, however, no rest for Preusker.
After his stable star finished fifth at the Cup last month, the Horsham born-and-bred trainer said he had not taken time to reflect too deeply upon the day.
"What's done is done. It's another race and you've just got to get on with the job now," Preusker said.
"We've got a team of horses to train so we're just sort of onto the next job."
The top-five finish might seem like a terrific result for Preusker's first runner at the Melbourne Cup.
But Preusker said the result was marred by what could have been.
After turning down the final straight at the back end of the field, Surprise Baby ran the quickest final 600 metres (33.79 seconds) to finish in fifth place, less than a length behind winner Vow and Declare.
Preusker said he still hadn't re-watched the race.
"(Going to other race meets) you quite often hear, 'You should have won'. But I've heard it often enough now that you don't even want to hear it anymore," Preusker said.
"That's just the way it panned out.
"Hopefully we're lucky enough to have a go again next year."
Preusker said the 2020 Melbourne Cup was now his sole focus for Surprise Baby, with the hope of an even better finish.
Preusker was still weighing-up the best route to take across the next 11 months, and said he will likely take it easy through autumn to have Surprise Baby in tip-top shape for spring.
Surprise Baby underwent a long and difficult process to qualify for his first Melbourne Cup. Preusker hoped the racehorse's growing credentials would make it easier to qualify next time around.
Surprise Baby is already listed as the favourite for the 2020 Melbourne Cup with some bookies.
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