The Aussie-owned English galloper Jakkalberry proved they were on track for a trip down under targeting the 2012 Melbourne Cup after the Marco Botti-trained stallion won the inaugural edition of the American St. Leger Stakes in Chicago over the weekend.
The Storming Home seven-year-old was purchased by the Victorian-based Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock earlier this year with an eye for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday November 6 during the famous Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Now the dream of having a genuine chance in the Melbourne Cup field is beginning to take shape after Jakkalberry’s impressive two and a half length victory in the Listed American St Leger (2714m) in record time on Friday evening (AEST).
It was the horse’s first win since their impressive six length effort in the Group 3 Carlo D’Alessio (2412m) in Italy back in May last year when under Botti’s cousin’s preparation, and one that their connections at ATB were happy to enjoy.
“We were confident the horse was in good order,” ATB’s Darren Dance said on the Arlington Park website.
“It’s a credit to the Bottis and their whole crew back home. He was just too strong.”
Dance was also quick to credit jockey Colm O’Donoghue, the Irish hoop having produced a perfectly timed ride, but was unsure whether they would accompany the horse to Australia for their rides during the spring.
“It was a 10/10 ride,” he said.
“He rode the horse exactly how he had to be ridden and he said he won with plenty up his sleeve.
“Colm is keen to come out to ride him and he rode for Lee Freedman at the turn of the century. He ticks a few boxes, but I’ll need to talk to Marco (Botti) and see what he thinks.
“It’s just been such an amazing day. They keep telling me that I’m the first Australian to win a race here.”
Jakkalberry, who is set to enter quarantine around September 12 or 13 before arriving in Melbourne on September 29, will shoot for Melbourne’s famed spring cups double this season with the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 20 also on the agenda.
In the latest Caulfield Cup futures betting markets at bookmaker.com.au Jakkalberry is rated a $26 chance, the Lloyd Williams-owned Green Moon who ran second to Southern Speed in the event last year leading the way at a quote of $14.
In the Melbourne Cup odds then Jakkalberry is paying a generous $31, markets topped by the Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos who won at Newbury on the weekend and the defending champ Dunaden on $19.
ATB also own Jakkalberry’s half-brother Crackerjack King, the Shamardal four-year-old having run fifth to Little Mike in the Grade 1 Arlington Million Stakes (2011m) at this weekend’s meeting.
Crackerjack King was also set to travel down under for the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27 but after their disappointing effort in the Arlington Million Stakes are more likely to stay home and be saved for the 2013 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
“I thought his last 50 (metres) was a bit ordinary,” Dance said of Crackerjack King’s weekend run.
“I haven’t gone through it in detail with Marco but my current thinking is that we won’t bring him to Melbourne this year.
“We may spell the horse and set him up for Dubai next year and look at Melbourne in 2013.”
To check out the latest markets for upcoming spring features including the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups head to bookmaker.com.au who are also giving away a $300 bonus bet to all new customers that quote the promo code BONUSBET.