The former Johnny Murtagh-trained Mutual Regard is back on the Melbourne Cup 2015 path this spring down under, the import now under the care of John Sadler in Victoria.
Former Irish jockey turned trainer Murtagh prepared the Hernando gelding for his Australian raid last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival that included a run in the world’s richest handicap on the first Tuesday of November.
In last year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), Mutual Regard and local hoop Damien Oliver could only manage to finish 17.5 lengths away 14th behind German stayer Protectionist in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
That followed a win at York in the Ebor Handicap over 2816m from last August and is a performance Sadler hopes the galloper can improve on this season under his preparation.
Mutual Regard stayed on in Australia post last year’s Melbourne Cup, connections originally hoping to have him in the mix for the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick during the autumn.
The galloper suffered a suspensory injury however and was sent to the paddock instead missing the entire autumn, but has been back in work with Sadler for just under two months.
“So far so good,” Sadler told AAP.
“He’s had an issue with a suspensory but hopefully he’s on the right side of that now.”
Leading into the Melbourne Cup Mutual Regard is also on track to contest the opening leg of the coveted Spring Cups double with an October 17 run in the $3 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m), for which he pays $41 to win.
The Caulfield Cup is likely to make up one of three lead-up races Sadler is looking at for the galloper into his second shot at the time-honoured Melbourne Cup.
Also on the agenda is the $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4, which could be the spring kick-off for Mutual Regard.
“He won’t be kicking off until mid to late September and could even kick off in the Turnbull,” Sadler said.
“I’ll be guided by him.
“He won’t have a stack of runs, probably a mile-and-quarter (2000m) then two mile-and-a-halfs (2400m) before the Melbourne Cup which is his aim.”
2015 Melbourne Cup nominations close early next month, but already Ladbrokes.com.au have all-in markets open on the two mile classic with betting led by Japan’s Fame Game ($11).
Mutual Regard meanwhile is currently listed at the same price he is for the Caulfield race and is a $41 shot in the futures Melbourne Cup odds.
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