Connections of British stayer Brown Panther have confirmed the Goodwood Cup winner is still in the frame for a 2013 Melbourne Cup campaign in Victoria this spring despite their recent health concerns.
The highly-rated Shirocco stallion, owned by retired soccer star Michael Owen, was scratched from last week’s Irish St Leger due to an elevated temperature.
However trainer Tom Dascombe has since confirmed the consistent six-year-old was on track for a trip down under targeting the iconic $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
It is expected the consistent galloper, third to Royal Diamond in last year’s Irish St Leger at the Curragh, will part of the second contingent of internationals making the trip from England to Melbourne.
“I spoke to Tom Dascombe last night and he’s happy with the horse,” Racing Victoria’s international talent recruiter Leigh Jordon told springracingcarnival.com.au on Tuesday.
“The second shipment of runners that will contain just Melbourne Cup runners go into quarantine on October the third, which he’s quite happy about because he’d like to give Brown Panther another start before he goes into quarantine.
“The Melbourne Cup is definitely not off the agenda and I think there are some options.
“Next week there’s a couple of Listed races at Newmarket and there may be other options before he needs to enter quarantine on October 3rd, so that’s a pleasing sign.”
Brown Panther has won seven of their 15 career runs to date, including the last two on the trot.
Their most recent effort was a blistering three and a half length success over subsequent St Leger runner-up Ahzeemah in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3218m) on August 1 – an effort that bodes well heading towards the two miles of the Melbourne Cup.
Melbourne Cup 2013 weights were released this week and at this stage Brown Panther has been allocated 55kg putting them seventh on the ballot led by previous Melbourne Cup winners Dunaden (2011) with 58.5kg and Green Moon (2012) with 57.5kg.
In the latest Melbourne Cup betting markets Puissance De Lune remains the favourite at $7, getting their chance to shorten when they run in Saturday’s Underwood Stakes.
Brown Panther meanwhile is inside the top 10 at a quote of $21, equal with last start USA St Leger champion Dandino.
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