South Australian star Behemoth returns at Morphettville Saturday

Trainer David Jolly isn’t taking a win at all costs mentality into the return of star stable Behemoth in Saturday’s Listed Durbridge Stakes (1100m) at Morphettville.

The Goolwa conditioner has his dual Group 1 winner on a $5 million All-Star Mile path this autumn and he’s hoping the first-up assignment can provide the perfect launching pad for what’s to come in 2021.

“We are rapt to be able to kick him off in a race closer to home because we don‘t always get that chance and while I think he will be very hard to beat, it‘s not the end of the world if he doesn’t win,” Jolly said.

“Saturday is a no pressure run and he doesn’t have to be winning to warrant going where we are going.

“It‘s a bit like a second trial for him, a good hit out closer to home so then we can tighten the screws in three weeks time in the Futurity Stakes.”

David Jolly with his Behemoth at his Goolwa property. Picture: Mark BrakeSource:News Corp Australia

Behemoth is an overwhelming $1.40 favourite to return a winner before he tackles the Group 1 Futurity Stakes at Caulfield on February 20.

It is set to provide the ideal All Star Mile tune up and with just over two weeks left in voting, Behemoth is in good shape to be awarded a slot in the race at The Valley.

The talented gelding, which is rated an $11 chance in All-Star Mile betting, has accrued more than 5000 votes already and sits second in the pecking order behind West Australian star Arcadia Queen.

“You would hope we will get in and we will keep him ticking over nicely until then,” Jolly said.

“We haven‘t discussed beyond the All Star Mile but I think he probably deserves a decent crack at the spring with a more conventional preparation.”

Behemoth proved himself as one of the best horses in training in South Australia last spring.

Behemoth won his second Group 1 in the Rupert Clarke Stakes. Photo: Pat Scala/Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Supplied

The All Too Hard gelding won the Group 3 Spring Stakes first-up on home soil before adding Group 1 successes via the Memsie Stakes in August and Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes in September at Caulfield.

He went to the paddock following a 10th placing in the $15 million The Everest but has been back in work with Jolly since before the New Year.

“He is in fairly good shape but probably isn‘t quite as forward as he was for the Spring Stakes last preparation,” Jolly said.

“We are looking forward to having him back.

“He enjoyed a nice break of four or five weeks after his last run and didn‘t lose a lot of residual fitness during that time.”

Todd Pannell rides Behemoth on Saturday.

Originally published asBehemoth returns with All-Star plan

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