French superstar Americain will kick start their Melbourne Cup 2012 campaign at home in Deauville this weekend when they headline the Prix de Kergorlay running on Sunday night (AEST).
This year will be the American-bred son of Dynaformer’s third consecutive run in the ‘race that stops a nation’, the now eight-year-old having been successful for their first attempt back in 2010.
Prepared by expert French horseman Alain de Royer Dupre, the Australian-owned Americain travelled down under for the first time two years ago and after a successful debut in the Geelong Cup went on to beat home local hope Maluckyday by three lengths in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
They looked on track to become the latest turf genius to win multiple editions of Flemington Race 7 on the first Tuesday of November last spring when they enjoyed a first-up success in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup.
On Melbourne Cup Day however Americain ran fourth in the big one, but they lost few admirers having come from near last to cross only one and a half lengths off the winner, the fellow French-trained Dunaden.
For their autumn preparation in Oz Americain joined the Flemington stables of David Hayes but was unable to win any of their three assignments.
They did however run a good third to Manighar in the Australian Cup at Flemington, before their former Melbourne Cup winning jockey Gerald Mosse was heavily criticised for their disastrous ride aboard Americain when second to Manighar in The BMW.
After they failed again last time out when sixth to More Joyous in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes connections made the decision to send the horse back to Royer Dupre’s care in France.
They are now set for their new season debut in the Group 2 Prix de Kergorlay (3000m), a race they won two years ago before their success in the 150th edition of the Melbourne Cup.
“We were hoping he’d be ready for the Kergorlay and Alain did too, but in the beginning we weren’t sure whether we’d get there,” Americain’s co-owner Colleen Bamford said.
“When we sent him back over (to France), the decision was made last-minute and it was a bit later than when we would have liked him to have gone back, but since he’d been back everything’s gone well and the horse is really well.
“The horse is very relaxed and doing really well we’re very happy with him.
“He had a hit out yesterday and Alain was really happy with him.”
Americain also contested last year’s Prix Kergorlay when finishing a distant 10th to Jukebox Jury, owned by the same connections, who subsequently broke down during the Melbourne Cup when 20th.
The Prix Kergorlay has in recent years been an excellent form race to consider leading into the Melbourne Cup.
Twelve months ago the event produced four of the first five horses over the line in the Melbourne Cup with Dunaden (1st), Red Cadeaux (2nd), Americain (4th) and Manighar (5th) the last of which was the best finisher in the France feature when fourth.
Then of course Americain won the Prix de Kergorlay – Melbourne Cup double the year before that with Manighar also running second in the Kergorlay before their fifth in the 2010 Caulfield Cup and seventh in the Melbourne Cup.
Other possible Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival-bound Europeans on display in the Prix Kergorlay this weekend include Americain’s stablemate Shahwardi, the Mikel Delzangles-trained Vadamar, last year’s third placed Brigantine, Simenon, Aizavoski and the Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos.
In the latest Melbourne Cup odds last start John Smith’s Silver Cup winner Mount Athos is equal $21 favourite with Red Cadeaux and Americain.
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