2012 Melbourne Cup Dream for Canberra’s Coliseo

It may turn out to be nothing more than a pipe dream but connections of low-key Canberra stayer Coliseo took the plunge this week by nominating the six-year-old for the world’s richest handicap – the Melbourne Cup 2012.

Earlier this season trainer Norm Gardner nominated the Arena gelding for the $2.65 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), and now they have also been entered for the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) held at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 6, 2012.

Gardner however knows just how tough an ask it would be for them to make the Melbourne Cup field, but he said it doesn’t hurt to throw in a nomination and not have to live wondering what if.

“I think it’s very doubtful that he’ll get a run,” Gardner said.

“You just never know what could happen – if you’re not in it, you can regret it later.

“We’ve just got to sit back and see what happens.”

A winner of six of their 23 career starts to date Coliseo’s biggest turf triumph occurred in May this year when contesting their fourth stakes race on the trot.

After earlier running a close third to Fill The Page in the Listed Canberra Cup (2000m) before two credible efforts in Listed features in Sydney during the autumn, the horse went to Wagga and held on in a tight finish to break their black-type duck with a win in the Listed Wagga Wagga Cup (2000m).

It was an impressive effort and one that was not meant to have happened, Coliseo having pulled up just a few weeks earlier with a foot abscess.

“That was something that was never on the agenda,” Gardner said of the win.

“It was a bit unbelievable at the time.

“I really didn’t think we’d won. I thought we’d come second.”

Coliseo resumed at Rosehill last Saturday running eighth to Thumbtacks over 1500m in a Benchmark 95, an effort Gardner is confident they can improve on.

They are also in the mix for one of the upcoming elite levels of the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival having been nominated for the $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick on October 6 – Epsom Handicap Day.

Twice Coliseo has seen the mile-and-a-half when a close second over 2400m at Kembla Grange in February this year, and then fourth to Permit in the Listed NE Manion Cup at Rosehill on March 31.

On Wednesday Coliseo was weighted on the 50kg minimum in the Caulfield Cup.

Despite their light weight, Caulfield Cup futures betting at bookmaker.com.au has Coliseo rated a $501 roughie and they are sure to be at a similar price when updated Melbourne Cup odds are out.

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