Sydney’s leading lady of racing Gai Waterhouse may have a Group 1 trophy cabinet brimming with gold but one missing from the collection is the iconic ‘Loving Trophy’, something she will look to change in the 2013 Melbourne Cup with imported stayer Michelangelo.
The world’s richest handicap has so far eluded Waterhouse but she isn’t giving up the fight ready to take the impeccably bred Galileo stallion Michelangelo to the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 5, 2013.
Waterhouse has come close to training a Melbourne Cup winner on three occasions preparing the runner-up in the ‘race that stops a nation’ when Te Akau Nick ran second to Irish raider Vintage Crop in 1993, Nothin’ Leica Dane was defeated by Doriemus in 1995 and then last year with the imported Fiorente a surprise second behind Green Moon.
This Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival she’ll be praying to go one better than last season having organised the purchase of the lightly raced Michelangelo specifically with the Melbourne Cup 2013 in mind.
Having had just five career starts to date Michelangelo boasts two wins back in Europe including a Listed feature over 2200m at Goodwood.
Their career highlight meanwhile came in September last year when they finished a brave third behind the American-bred Encke in the Group 1 English St Leger (2920m) at Doncaster.
Showing obviously ability over the long distances Michelangelo caught the eye of a number of Melbourne Cup form analysts with the step up to two miles (3200m) for the Melbourne Cup one they look to be able to handle.
Waterhouse’s England-based bloodstock agent John McKeever was behind the contract that saw Michelangelo, formerly prepared by John Gosden, Australian-bound following the St Leger with their new syndicate of owners headed by Greg and Donna Kolivos who raced Waterhouse’s former star colt Pierro.
There’s plenty of staying form in Michelangelo’s pedigree being closely related to the Lloyd Williams-owned Galileo six-year-old Midas Touch, the Irish Derby third placegetter now racing down under.
With Waterhouse still planning their spring assault, Michelangelo is already a top early fancy in the Melbourne Cup betting markets paying $18 in the pre-nomination odds.
Markets are led by emphatic Bendigo Cup and Queen Elizabeth Stakes champion Puissance De Lune ($9), Darren Weir’s Shamardal grey last seen dead heating with Budriguez to win the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in early March.
News this week is that Puissance De Lune, to be ridden by Glen Boss in the spring majors, will also target the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
Waterhouse’s 2012 Melbourne Cup runner-up Fiorente meanwhile occupies the second line of betting at $10, the Monsun five-year-old last seen finishing third behind All Too Hard in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 27.
Both Fiorente and Michelangelo are also in the early markets for the other big spring staying feature, the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) to run on October 19.
For the mile and a half classic Fiorente pays $17 in markets led by four time Group 1 winning young gun It’s A Dundeel ($7) with Michelangelo a little further down the equation at $26.
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