Premier Irish trainer Dermot Weld’s pre-nomination Melbourne Cup favourite Profound Beauty suffered a slight setback when beaten on Saturday in the Group 3 Curragh Cup (2816m) by Tactic.
The Danehill mare is Weld’s leading contender for this year’s 150th Melbourne Cup at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November, but couldn’t match the John Dunlop-trained Tactic in the Curragh Cup. Profound Beauty put in a determined late challenge, but Tactic held on to win by a comfortable two lengths.
Despite Profound Beauty’s loss, Weld had plenty to smile about on Saturday as Chinese White took out the Curragh meeting’s feature, the Group 1 Audi Pretty Polly Stakes (2012m). It was the five-year-old mare’s final race before becoming a broadmare, and her maiden Group 1 victory.
Profound Beauty is still the warm early favourite to give Weld his third Melbourne Cup success following his wins with Vintage Crop (1993) and Media Puzzle (2002).
Curragh Cup winner Tactic will also be given entry for the Melbourne Cup after his big win. Dunlop has said immediate plans for the improving four-year-old included a run in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3219m) and then a trip to Australia in the spring for the Cup Carnival would be considered.
In other Melbourne Cup news Ascot-based galloper Whipsaw, who was considered Western Australia’s best chance of having a Cup runner in the 150th anniversary this year, has broken down and will miss out on the chance.
The four-year-old Hold That Tiger gelding trained by Mark Reed had enjoyed six career starts including two wins, most recently in the Bunbury Cup (2200m).
Over the history of the Melbourne Cup, the Bunbury Cup has proved an excellent guide with a number of winners coming off this race before winning the world’s richest handicap, including Rogan Josh in 1999.
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