Winchester Gunning Towards 2012 Melbourne Cup

Former American galloper Winchester is preparing for a shot at the Melbourne Cup 2012 this spring having settled into their new home at Malua Racing Stables at Flemington Racecourse, home of the world’s richest handicap, last week.

The Theatrical seven-year-old is the latest acquisition of Anthony Mithen’s Rosemount Stud in New Zealand, the horse having spent a month in quarantine in NZ following the purchase, and will be prepared down under by John Sadler.

Reportedly coming through their trip from America to New Zealand and quarantine in good order the multiple Grade 1 champion, formerly prepared by Dermot Weld in Ireland and then Christophe Clement in the US, Winchester has won three Grade 1 races over their 24-start career to date for over US$1.5 million in prize money.

Their most recent turf triumph came in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes (2412m) at Saratoga back in August last year.

Following that they failed to beat home any of their rivals when beaten nearly 20 lengths by the winner Cape Blanco in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park, and then ran third in the Grade 2 WL McKnight Handicap last November.

Originally Winchester was retired after the WL McNight by their owner breeders Mr and Mrs Bertram Firestone before the sale to Rosemont Stud.

New connections see Winchester’s staying potential and purchased them with the grand plan of running them in the iconic $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at on Tuesday November 6.

“We’ve had him in the stables for about a week and a half,” Malua’s general manager Tony Corstens said.

“He’s a beautiful horse, we are very pleased with him.

“A horse like this going into the spring, if we can get him up and going there is no doubt he can be a Cups horse.

“He is already fully qualified.

“He has just been ticking over for about four weeks and he is about ready to step up and start a bit of pace work in the next week or two.

“We’ll look to a first-up run for him in around late August.”

Winchester is yet to be added to the futures Melbourne Cup odds at bookies around the country which are led by 2010 champ Americain at $17.

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