After a controversial lead-up spiked with injury issues to their Australian race debut in the Caulfield Cup a fortnight ago, Anthony Freedman’s classy German expat Lucas Cranach has impressed jockey Corey Brown in a track gallop, Brown declaring the galloper as a genuine 2011 Melbourne Cup horse ahead of Tuesday week’s $6.2 million showdown.
Mamool five-year-old Lucas Cranach, now owned by Australian connections, put in a terrific effort for their maiden run down under when finishing a solid fifth behind upset winner Southern Speedin the Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15.
With the import originally under a cloud of doubt for the Caulfield Cup having suffered from a cracked hoof just days out from the race, and then being found to be “mildly lame” by Racing Victoria stewards after the race, word is Lucas Cranach has now fully overcome all issues with their hoof and will be fitted for racing plates to wear for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday November first.
“The hoof problem is behind us, my experience with quarter cracks is they go one way or the other and fortunately he is through it,” Australian Bloodstock director Jamie Lovett said.
“He has flow under the radar (for the Melbourne Cup).
“He couldn’t get out of the headlines before the Caulfield Cup.
“He wore half bar plates at Caulfield and normal racing plates will be back on for the (Melbourne) Cup.
“The Caulfield run topped him off.
“He hadn’t run since July and Corey said his run peaked at about the 150 metre mark.
“Lee (Freedman) said if he ran in the top five he’d be rapt, said he was only 85 per cent fit.”
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Lucas Cranach currently occupies the third line of Melbourne Cup betting at Luxbet paying $8.50, sitting below only the French-trained duo of defending winner Americian ($4) and recent Geelong Cup conqueror Dunaden ($7).
Brown believes this short-price is deserved based on what Lucas Cranach showed him he was capable of in the Caulfield Cup.
“I really like the horse,” Brown said.
“Now we know each other it was a great Melbourne Cup trial and I think he is a great chance.”
In a gallop at Freedman’s Mornington paddocks on Tuesday morning Lucas Cranach was in such high spirits that he nearly threw the hoop off his back, a good sign according to Brown.
“I was up on his head at one stage and he was having a play and I nearly fell off him,” Brown said.
“He’s feeling very fresh and bright.
“He’s come through the Caulfield Cup really, really well.
“After being here in Australia for a while and Lee changing his trackwork he has got sharper.
“He’s rectified the cracked heel problem and I rode him this morning at Mornignton and he’s 100 per cent.
“Now horse and rider know each other better he’ll give a good sign in the Melbourne Cup.
“At Flemington he will love the big track.”
Brown will be shooting for his second Melbourne Cup success having ridden the now-retired Shocking to victory two years ago, which came just 12 months after his narrow second with Bauer behind 2008 Melbourne Cup winner Viewed.
The official 2011 Melbourne Cup final field will be announced live from Flemington Racecourse on Saturday afternoon at 5pm (local time) after the track action of Victoria Derby Day wraps up.
Races.com.au will be publishing the list of Melbourne Cup 2011 acceptors directly after the announcement, so make sure you stay tuned.
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