Mike Moroney will start smart import Aktau’s Spring Carnival at Saturday’s Flemington meeting.

Aktau has a secure Caulfield Cup spot but Mike Moroney is desperate to get the imported stayer into the Melbourne Cup during a spring campaign that starts at Saturday’s Flemington meeting.

Moroney won the 2000 Melbourne Cup with Brew and Aktau is a $41 chance to give the New Zealand-born trainer another win in Australia’s greatest race.

Aktau suffered one defeat from four starts in his maiden Australian campaign, which culminated with a win in the Listed Mornington Cup in March.

The Mornington Cup success gave Aktau a berth in next month’s Caulfield Cup field and Moroney said he wanted to qualify Aktau for the Melbourne Cup with a top-three finish in the Caulfield Cup.

Aktau only has 51kg in both races, which left the six-year-old 67th in line for a Melbourne Cup start at Tuesday’s release of weights.

“I think there’s some work to do to get him there (to the Melbourne Cup) but it depends on what’s coming out (from overseas) and attrition,” the Flemington-based Moroney said.

“We always thought that his best way of qualifying for the Melbourne Cup would be the Caulfield Cup.

Jockey Jye McNeil will again be aboard Aktau for his first-up run at Flemington. (Photo by George Salpigtidis/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Moroney wants the Caulfield Cup to be Aktau’s third run this time in, meaning the son of Teofilo was fit enough to be competitive in his first-up assignment in Saturday’s Winning Edge Presentation Stakes (1700m).

“He’s had two jumpouts and he’s forward enough for Saturday’s race,” Moroney said.

“He doesn’t need a lot of racing because he’s a natural stayer.

“He keeps himself pretty fit because he’s a horse that when he steps out on the track, he works himself pretty hard.”

Moroney was surprised by the strength of Aktau’s opposition in Saturday’s $125,000 race.

Group 1 Schweppes Oaks winner Toffee Tongue is among the acceptors as is the highly touted import Django Freeman.

Aktau is a $5 favourite to make a winning start to his spring preparation with Jye McNeil in the saddle at Flemington.

Originally published asAktau starts Melbourne Cup journey at Flemington

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