The Melbourne Cup has been a long-term target for the Roger Charlton-trained five-year-old, who has run just twice in the last 12 months.
Having landed a monster gamble when winning the Cesarewitch at Newmarket last October, Withhold made a successful start to the current campaign with a dominant display in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle in June and has been saved for his Australian adventure ever since.
Charlton originally had no intention of running his charge again before the Flemington showpiece on November 6.
However, the Beckhampton trainer has had a change of heart because Withhold is far from certain to get a run in the Melbourne Cup, as things stand.
A a maximum field of 24 will go to post for the ‘race that stops a nation’, and Withhold is currently in the mid-30s in the order of entry.
Charlton said: “The plan is for him to run, and everything is good.
“We had hoped to go straight to the Melbourne Cup, but there were a number of variables, with a few horses above him that we didn’t think would run now looking like they will run. If we didn’t run (on Wednesday), we wouldn’t know if we would get in the race or not until a couple of days before.”
He added: “This wasn’t part of the original plan, but you have to be flexible, and we’re hoping he can finish in the first two.
“If he finishes second then I think he’ll go up a couple of places for prize-money he’s earned, but he won’t go up in the weights. If he wins I think it’s up to the handicapper how much he wants to put him up. There’s no penalty structure for winning the Geelong Cup, as far as I’m aware.
“The horse has settled in well, by all accounts, and is in good form.
“A mile and a half is the minimum for him, but that’s where we are and we’ll give it a shot.”