Murray Baker’s New Zealand colt Mongolian Khan is about to begin preparations to target the ‘race that stops a nation’ with the Melbourne Cup 2015 calling the Australian Derby winner this spring down under.
Baker has scheduled his Holy Roman Emperor three-year-old to get back into work next week with an eye on a grand final assignment in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
Futures Melbourne Cup betting is already open online at Ladbrokes.com.au with Japan’s Tenno Sho runner-up Fame Game the early $15 favourite in the all-in markets.
Mongolian Khan is also well fancied at $21, an equal price with the likes of Godolphin’s Chipping Norton Stakes – Ranvet Stakes double winner Contriubter, the reigning Melbourne Cup champ Protectionist and the Darren Weir-trained Signoff who ran fourth in the world’s richest handicap last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
A winner of seven of his nine starts to date, Mongolian Khan took out the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) back home over the mile and a half in late February before debuting down under in Sydney during the autumn.
In his first run in Australia the young stayer finished fifth to Volkstok’n’barrell in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m), improving when back up in distance to take out the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 6.
The rising four-year-old hasn’t raced since becoming the first colt since Bonecrusher (1986) to take out the NZ Derby – Australian Derby double, and Baker is keen to kick off his latest campaign.
“If he’s going to run in the Melbourne Cup he needs to get under way pretty quickly,” Baker told the New Zealand Herald this week.
“The Cup comes around a lot quicker than you think each year and you can’t win it if you’re not ready.
“He looks very well, I’ve been out to see him and I’m very satisfied.
“He’s a great stayer and he’s got tactical speed, just the type for a Melbourne Cup.”
To date Baker has had five previous Melbourne Cup runners but is yet to finish in the money, his first starter in the iconic two mile handicap being Prized Gem who ran 14th back in 2002.
His other starters were Australian Derby winner Nom Du Jeu (eighth in 2008) and Harris Tweed (5th in 2009 and 2010).
At this stage Mongolian Khan, who should make the 24-starter Melbourne Cup field without an issue being a dual Derby winner, will almost certainly race solely in Australia for his spring preparation.
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