Veteran stayer Bauer has returned to track work in Europe, the ever-gallant grey from the stables of Luca Cumani again heading towards the world’s richest two-mile handicap, the 2011 Melbourne Cup.
Now a rising nine-year-old, Halling gelding Bauer was a devastatingly close Melbourne Cup runner-up back in 2008 when they finished a nose away second behind the Bart Cummings-trained winner Viewed.
Premier Newmarket-based horseman Cumani planned to give Bauer another shot at the Melbourne Cup two years later, when he bought them over for last year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Controversially, however, Bauer was scratched from the 2010 Melbourne Cup field having suffered an injury to his near fore hoof and never got to contest the iconic Flemington feature subsequently won by Americain.
Cumani’s withdrawal of Bauer on the morning of the Melbourne Cup cause quite a stir as the horse had sustained the injury seven days earlier and the late scratching saw the Melbourne Cup field feature just 23 starters.
Bauer has failed to reach the same heights as his 2008 close call, the horse suffering from niggling injury issues ever since.
Despite having trained over 30 Group 1 winners across 10 counties, the Melbourne Cup has so far eluded Cumani.
Along with Bauer, Cumani also came close in taking out the ‘Loving Cup’ in 2007 when Purple Moon was beaten by only that year’s winner Efficient, also prepared by the ‘Cups King’ Cummings.
The Italian-bred trainer has plans to target this year’s $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), set to run on Tuesday November 1, with Bauer again who may join Cumani’s Australian spring bound team along with the likes of Drunken Sailor.
Bauer begun work at Cumani’s Newmarket stables to again prepare for the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival’s headline race, and is reportedly coming along nicely.
It has been over 10 months since Bauer’s last race appearance when they ran a game fourth to Dangerous Midge in the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Arc Trial (2221m) in September last year.
“The old boy is starting to show what he is capable of again but, as it was last year when things didn’t quite work out, Melbourne is the aim for him again and any race he has here can only be a preparation for Australia as he has to go into quarantine in September,” Cumani said in an official statement on his website.
There is a chance Bauer may resume in the Totesport Ebor Handicap (2816m) at York on August 20.
“He holds an entry in the Ebor and might well run in that race, but it could well be his first run of the season and anyone thinking of backing him at the 20-1 currently available will do well to review his run at Salisbury first time out last season back from a long break.”
The run Cumani refers to was Bauer’s dead last finish, beaten by over 50 lengths, in a 2834 metre event last September, which was his first-up run in nearly two years.
Melbourne Cup 2011 Nominations close on Thursday September 1.