Newmarket-based Italian trainer Marco Botti is a very real chance of being dually represented in the ‘race that stops a nation’ having uncovered another genuine Melbourne Cup 2012 horse in the weekend’s Prix Kergorlay winner Joshua Tree.
It was a magic weekend on the international racing scene for Botti whose main chance heading into the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November Jakkalberry won the inaugural American St Leger Stakes in Chicago.
That effort by the Storming Home seven-year-old who pays $31 in the Melbourne Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au was then followed only 14 hours later in France by another winning performance by their stablemate, Montjeu five-year-old Joshua Tree.
The bay stallion, who was coming off a second to Fiorente in the Group 2 Princess of Wales’s Goldsmiths Stakes (2414m) at Newmarket in July, was the talk of the town when they stormed home to a smart one length victory over Brigantin in the Group 2 Darley Prix Kergorlay (3000m) at Deauville.
“He rolled along at his own pace and felt like he always had them covered,” winning jockey Ryan Moore said.
In a race that has produced the past two Melbourne Cup winners Joshua Tree was the standout and deserved winner, Botti now seriously considering them joining the Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock-owned Jakkalberry on a trip down under for the Victorian spring riches.
“Two runners in the Melbourne Cup, that would be something,” Botti said happily on the weekend.
“We will definitely have to consider Australia now. It’s either Australia or we could go back to Canada for the Canadian International in which he ran second last year.
“Ryan (Moore) said he gets the trip although the 3200 metres at Flemington might be a bit harder than 3000 metres here.
“Still he’s a tough horse, he’s been around the world and he copes with the travel and I think you might need that type of horse to go to Melbourne. We’ll decide in the next two weeks.”
Among the less impressive Prix Kergorlay runners was 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain who, unsuited to the slow time (3:18.52), only managed to finish five lengths away sixth.
Their stablemate, the fellow Alain de Royer Dupre-trained Shahwardi however did manage to finish third to Joshua Tree while Mikel Delzangles, trainer of the defending Melbourne Cup champ Dunaden, ran fourth with Vadamar.
Delzangles has confirmed Dunaden will return to defend their title in the world’s richest handicap but is unsure whether Dalakhani five-year-old Vadamar will be up to a Melbourne Cup campaign this time in.
“He will come on from this run but he’s only a four-year-old and I’m not sure he’s quite ready for the Melbourne Cup. Maybe next year,” Delzangles said.
And of a Melbourne Cup return for Dunaden, “We’re leaning that way now,” he said.
“Obviously we were looking at the Arc but if he could win the Arc with 59 (kg) then he could perhaps win the Caulfield Cup with 57 or 58 (kg) and he’s proven in Melbourne.
“I think maybe we will back and if we come, I think we would run in the Caulfield Cup.”
Jakkaberry meanwhile is 100 percent for a trip down under, the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 20 likely to be their first-up assignment in Australia.
“I thought he won very nicely at Arlington and everything’s going well with him. He won’t run again in Europe, he’ll head straight to Melbourne and maybe even run in the Caulfield Cup,” Botti said.
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