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Connections of Gai Waterhouse’s Melbourne Cup failure from last spring Tres Blue have confirmed the promising import will be given a chance to atone for their disappointing form down under with a second shot at the ‘race that stops a nation’ this coming carnival.
Round Table Racing Syndicate manager Bruce Slade confirmed this week that the Anabaa Blue stallion is again headed towards a run in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), the world’s richest handicap race taking place at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 4.
It’s a race the now rising five-year-old was set for last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival after Sade and the horse’s other owners purchased the French galloper specifically for a Melbourne Cup campaign.
Their form back home was very promising including back-to-back wins at Deauville firstly in the Group 3 Prixe de Reux (2500m) and then up in class for the Group 2 Prix de Deauville (2500m).
However 10 weeks after their Group 2 win they finished at the tail end of the Melbourne Cup field when 22nd beating home just two of their rivals.
Over 50 lengths separated them and their winning stablemate Fiorente who handed Waterhouse with her first Melbourne Cup trophy.
There was plenty of controversy surrounding Tres Blue on Melbourne Cup Day however with reports they were treated with a substance banned on race day before their Cup flop.
Sent to the paddock immediately after, they came back for a two run autumn campaign in Sydney where they were again well beaten in both starts.
A first-up 13th behind Gordon Lord Byron in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill was followed a month later by a 10th to Spillway in the Group 3 Japan Racing Association Plate (2000m) where Tres Blue never looked like a chance.
Despite the disappointing results on paper, Waterhouse was apparently happy with their light campaign with her focus being on having them ready for a spring return and a second shot at Melbourne Cup glory.
There has been plenty of off-season talk from those in the know about the improved maturity of Tres Blue both physically and mentally with the horse having put on around 25kg since their last run in late April.
Their breeding also suggests that they can come back and perform better as an older horse, giving Slade another glimmer of hope.
Their sire Anabaa Blue won the French Derby during her three-year-old season and is noted for producing late maturing progeny.
Waterhouse prepares the current Melbourne Cup betting favourite for this year with her Sydney Cup champ The Offer paying $13 in the pre-nomination markets.
Tres Blue is far from a roughie shot in the futures Melbourne Cup odds too paying $34 equal with a host of other stayers including one time favourite for last year Puissance De Lune.
While their Melbourne Cup campaign and lead-up into the classic is still being mapped out, Tres Blue is expected to return in mid-late August perhaps in something like the $200,000 Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on the 16th.
There are options in Sydney also but Waterhouse has indicated she would prefer for them to do the bulk of their spring racing in Melbourne.
Slade also said that where the horse runs will be determined by the weight allocated to them by Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter for the Melbourne Cup and where they sit on the ballot for their grand final assignment.
“The weights and things will decide whether we need to win races to get him into the Cup or whether we can just take him through a preparation that sort of culminates in the Melbourne Cup,” Slade was quoted as saying.
“He will be right on the brink of being guaranteed a start or not and the weights will make a big difference as to where we go with him.
“Gai is very keen to have the majority of his preparation in Melbourne.”
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