An impressive track gallop at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday has improved the credentials of the Lloyd Williams-owned import Sea Moon ahead of their 2013 Melbourne Cup campaign this spring.
The Robert Hickmott-trained Beat Hollow stallion was the top performer for Team Williams in the weekend’s gallops facing some stiff competition.
Their hit out also feature high-profile stablemates Seville who was runner-up to Williams’ subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) last start back in October, and English St Leger winner Masked Marvel who is yet to race down under.
Sea Moon is another top stayer who hasn’t had an official start on Aussie soil, the five-year-old last seen running a below par eighth in the Group 1 Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) in France on an unsuitably Heavy track last October.
Their earlier form during that year’s Royal Ascot Carnival however, and other staying performance around Europe, have seen the Australian bookies jump on them for this year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Sea Moon is third favourite in the pre-nomination Melbourne Cup odds.
They pay $13 to win the ‘race that stops a nation’ on Tuesday November 5 trailing only Puissance De Lune ($8.50) and last year’s runner-up Fiorente ($11).
Their price looked to be justified at this stage too based on what they showed in the low key weekend workout.
Ridden by globetrotting hoop Brett Prebble Sea Moon hit the front with 600m left to travel and stormed home down the outside to beat home Masked Marvel and Seville in third.
“He’s a very quiet horse but he came to the races today and he knew that he was here for a reason,” Prebble told Racing Victoria on Saturday.
“It was a good piece of work he gave me a good feel and he’s got a great stride on him, if he brings his European form then they’re going to know there’s a serious horse in town.”
In a separate Flemington gallop on Saturday Green Moon also made an appearance, their first since a fourth to Super Cool in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington back in March.
The Montjeu stallion faced off against 2013 Epsom Derby performer Thought Worthy putting in a crack effort to run the final 200m in a smart 11.85 seconds.
“He’s come to hand very quickly; his last furlong today was very impressive,” Prebble, who won the Melbourne Cup on Green Moon last spring, said after the run.
As to the lead-up campaign of their Cups-bound stars, Nick Williams said they would be spilt first-up going to either the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in three weeks’ time or the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington a week later on September 7.
“All indications are that Sea Moon, Thought Worthy and Masked Marvel are doing very well ahead of their first Australian preparations,” he said.
“Sea Moon’s a very nice horse, at this stage we’re very happy with how he’s acclimatised.”
There’s also a strong chance Sea Moon will be more of a weight-for-age star this time in with Williams’ giving great consideration to a run in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley with them on October 26.
The $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) a week before is also on the cards.
“I’d love to target him towards the Cox Plate but we’ll just let him tell us whether the right race is the Caulfield Cup, the Cox Plate or the Melbourne Cup,” he said.
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