In the early hours of Friday morning (AEST) the Michael Owen-bred and owned European stayer Brown Panther thrilled with a great win the iconic Goodwood Cup in an ideal Melbourne Cup 2013 lead-up.
Prepared by Tom Dascombe in the village of Malpas the Shirocco stallion made it back-to-back wins this time in coming off a Listed mile and a half victory last month at Pontefact.
In a field bursting with possible Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival contenders there was plenty of interest on this year’s Group 2 Artemis Goodwood Cup (3218m) especially from the Aussie punters.
And it could prove a form line worth following with the Goodwood Cup winner Brown Panther a strong chance of making the trip down under for a shot at the world’s richest handicap – the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Run at the famous Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 5, the Melbourne Cup has been a pipe dream for former star footballer, the 33-year-old Owen.
That dream could now prove more a reality too after Brown Panther’s gutsy three and a half length Goodwood Cup success.
“To have a horse that’s so good and has won such a good race is a real honour,” The Guardian reported Owen, who retired from playing football in May, as saying post-win.
“I celebrate more here than when I score a goal.”
Owen was also quick to credit the ride from winning jockey Richard Kingscote and the training effort of Dascombe who has been preparing horses for him at Manor Farm in Cheshire since the end of 2009.
“It’s a totally different feeling to football,” he said.
“I always felt reasonably in control because you’ve got your destiny in your hands out there, in many ways, but this racing game tests your nerves.
“You’ve got nothing to do with it, you’re just sat there in the stands, hoping that the trainer’s done his job and the jockey does his.
“They’ve both done it with aplomb today.”
From here plans are to back Black Panther up in the coveted Group 1 Irish St Leger (2816m) in September at The Curragh before heading to Victoria for a shot at the Melbourne Cup.
“We thought about the Melbourne Cup last year and will think about it again,” Owen said.
“The plan was always Goodwood Cup, Irish Leger and Melbourne Cup. I don’t see any reason why those plans will change.
“He’s taken us to places we could only dream of, really.
“I’m a young owner and to have so much luck and so much success is quite scary, really. I’m a very lucky boy.”
Running second to Brown Panther in the Goodwood Cup was Godolphin’s also Melbourne-bound Ahzeemah with the German-trained Altano crossing a distant third.
The Goodwood Cup win from Brown Panther has seen them soar toward the top of the early Melbourne Cup odds at the Aussie bookmakers.
They now sit around the fourth line of betting at a quote of $17 with markets still topped by Puissance De Lune ($7).
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