Ace Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien could be set for his first Melbourne Cup Carnival in half a decade following the success of his possible 2013 Melbourne Cup contender Leading Light at Royal Ascot over the weekend.
Ballydoyle stable’s O’Brien travelled down under back in 2008 making a three horse assault on that year’s edition of the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Represented by Septimus, Alessandro Volta and Honolulu it was a horror Melbourne Cup result for the masterful horseman with his horses finishing 18th, 20th and 21st respectively behind the Bart Cummings-trained winner Viewed who was the ‘King of the Cup’s’ 12th Melbourne Cup winner.
O’Brien has not returned since but could be encouraged to buy his ticket to the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival this year having been impressed with the latest win from his Montjeu colt Leading Light.
The progressive youngster lined up for just the fifth time at Ascot on June 21 and was the impressive one and a half length winner of the Group 3 Queen’s Vase (3218m), the successful race favourite ridden by Joseph O’Brien.
That was their fourth consecutive win with Leading Light’s only loss to date being their distant debut when beaten 15 lengths over 1700m at Galway last August.
They are also now a dual Group 3 winner having earlier put two and a half lengths on the John Oxx-trained Little White Cloud to win the Gallinule Stakes (2011m) in The Curragh back in late May.
Leading Light is certainly emerging as a stayer to watch with their ability to step up from 2000m to the two miles with ease certainly very impressive according to their jockey.
“I was a bit worried about the trip,” he said.
“He’s very relaxed and has a great attitude, when you get stuck into him he fights. He’s very idle and was always just doing enough.”
Having handled the distance O’Brien admitted that they would have to be considered for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
“I’m sure the lads will look into everything,” O’Brien said speaking about where to next.
“Obviously they’ll look at the card and the program.
“He is only a three-year-old still, but that (the Melbourne Cup) definitely has to be under consideration.”
O’Brien also hinted at a shot at the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2816m) at The Curragh in September with a step back down to the mile and a half for the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris (2400m) in France next month sandwiched in between.
“The St Leger would hopefully be the plan later in the season but in the meantime he could drop back in distance for the Grand Prix de Paris next month,” he said.
Future Melbourne Cup betting markets quoting ante-post prices on a whole host of international raiders are already open online at bookmaker.com.au.
While Leading Light hasn’t been installed in the early markets just yet, if O’Brien continues to talk the Melbourne Cup talk they are sure to be added into the equation shortly.
Check out the current Melbourne Cup odds and betting options online at bookmaker.com.au and don’t forget that if you are first-time depositing customer at the country’s leading agency they’ll reward you with a bonus bet valued up to $500!