Tom Dascombe’s English galloper Brown Panther has moved up into equal second favouritism in the futures Melbourne Cup 2014 odds down under following their latest run at Royal Ascot.
On June 19 the Shirocco stallion, owned by former English football great Michael Owen, caught the eye with their fourth to saluting favourite Leading Light in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup (4023m).
It was a run that had their trainer and connections holding their breath as the six-year-old challenged for the lead before fading over the closing stages to cross five lengths away.
Next the Malpas-based Dascombe will give the galloper a chance to defend their Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3218m) title in early August.
“It looked like he was going to win when he took it up with two furlongs to go but he just didn’t get home,” Dascombe told The Northern Echo speaking of the horse’s run in the Gold Cup.
“I’d imagine it will be back to the Goodwood Cup for him next.”
They won the race by an easy three and a half lengths last year carrying a hefty 60.5kg two runs before their trip to Victoria for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November.
In the Melbourne Cup at Flemington they finished inside the Top 10 running eighth behind the Gai Waterhouse-trained import Fiorente beaten seven and a half lengths in their maiden Australian run.
After a six month spell following their run in the world’s richest handicap Brown Panther returned in Great Britain with back-to-back Group 3 wins in May by a combined six lengths before their Ascot Gold Cup effort.
Their excellent form this time in has connections again looking at a Melbourne Cup bid with a return trip to Oz strongly being considered.
How Brown Panther performs in their Goodwood Cup title defense could then confirm whether or not they embark on their second Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival assault.
The bookies have already reacted to the rumours of their return and have shortened Brown Panther in the latest futures Melbourne Cup odds.
The markets are led by Sydney Cup champ The Offer who is currently at $13 through Ladbrokes.com.au to hand Waterhouse with her second consecutive ‘Loving Trophy’.
Brown Panther now follows at $21, equal with the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained La Amistad.
The four-year-old Redoute’s Choice mare entered Melbourne Cup calculations this autumn winning three staying races on the trot including the Listed McKell Cup (2400m) at Randwick on May 24.
It’s then a wide open affair with 11 gallopers all at $26; they are:
- Dandino (GB) (Marco Botti) – British raider who won the USA St Leger last year before their Caulfield Cup second and brave fifth in the Melbourne Cup during a two-hit Melbourne assault
- Fame Game (JPN) (Y Munakata) – Japanese-trained four-year-old only lightly raced with half a dozen starts but are a Group 3 winner and Group 1 performer including a sixth in the Tenno Sho in May over the two miles
- Kirramosa (NZ) (John Sargent) – Sydney based Almosa filly who enjoyed back-to-back wins last spring at Flemington including of course the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) on November 7
- Lucia Valentina (NZ) (Kris Lees) – Trained in Newcastle this Savabeel filly won the Group 1 Storm Queen Stakes (2000m) in the wet at Rosehill on Slipper Day before stepping up to the mile and a half of the ATC Oaks for a close third
- Mount Athos (IRE) (Luca Cumani) – Montjeu gelding was in Australia for last year’s Melbourne Cup on the back of some hit-and-miss European form including an eighth to Brown Panther in the Godowood Cup but thrived down under and ran a smashing third in the ‘race that stops a nation’
- Our Voodoo Prince (GB) (Chris Waller) – Waller-trained import now based in Melbourne, is undefeated down under with three wins from as many starts in Victoria most recently the Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield in April with improvement expected this spring
- Rising Romance (NZ) (Donna Logan) – New Zealand-trained Ekraar filly who ran second in the NZ Derby before coming to Australia four a Storm Queen fourth and then a tidy win in the ATC Oaks when back up to the 2400m
- Sea Moon (GB) (Robert Hickmott) – A Lloyd Williams-owned import who was well liked for last year’s Melbourne Cup after their Herbert Power Stakes win in October, could only manage to finish 13th however and then finished dead last first-up over the mile in March before going to the paddock again
- Simenon (IRE) (William Mullins) – Irish galloper who travelled over for the Melbourne Cup last November having run second in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup last June, third in the Herbert Power and then one of the best finishing in the Cup when fourth to Fiorente
- Spiritjim (FR) (P Bary) – French stayer in line for a Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup bid after a hugely impressive start to their career with six wins from eight starts to date, last four straight including back-to-back Group wins over 2400m most recently at the start of the month in the Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly
- Very Nice Name (FR) (Alban de Mieulle) – Another prepared in France, this one also with good Group form, the Whipper stallion ran second to Japan’s Orfevre in a Group 2 at Longchamp over 2400m in September before failing in the Arc (16th to Treve) in October
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