Cranbourne Cup winner Folkswood (Image: Racing Photos)
Charlie Appleby will be out to convert his recent domination of Victoria's country cups into Group 1 glory when Folkswood lines up in Saturday's Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
The Cox Plate placegetter opened as the $5 fixed-odds favourite for the $2 million feature and connections are hopeful that the absence of Winx can pave the way for the trainer's maiden triumph at the elite level in Melbourne, following victories in the Geelong Cup, Bendigo Cup (twice), Cranbourne Cup, Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Sandown Cup this spring and last.
Appleby's travelling foreman Chris Connett said Folkswood had come through his run at The Valley in satisfactory order and, after watching the five-year-old breeze up at Werribee on Wednesday morning, is confident he's in the right shape to win.
"We couldn't be happier with him," Connett said.
"He came out of the race (Cox Plate) very well and he did his last serious gallop on Saturday and then he stretched his legs this morning.
"She (Winx) is a superb mare and running against her is kind of like knocking your head up against a brick wall.
"We would've taken our chance and tried our best but it does make it easier (that she's not in the race)."
Connett said a decision on whether Qewy takes his place in Saturday's Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) would be made in the coming days.
Connections opted to bypass the Melbourne Cup with the eight-year-old to give him additional time to recover from his race-record Bendigo Cup (2400m) win over Kiwia.
"The first few days after the race it had taken a little bit out of him but we're happy with him at the moment," he said.
"He stretched his legs this morning and Carey (Williamson) who rides him was very happy with him.
"We're going to accept with him and Charlie will make a decision over the next couple of days."
Connett also confirmed plans for Kidmenever, who was unplaced behind Lord Fandango in the G2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield last month, to tackle the G3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Ladbrokes Park Sandown on Saturday week.