Connections of the Tom Dascombe-trained Brown Panther have all but signed off on a trip to Victoria for another shot at the iconic Melbourne Cup after a nice gallop from the stayer at Newmarket in England late last week.
During the 2013 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival two years ago the Shirocco stallion visited Oz and ran a credible eighth behind the Gai Waterhouse-trained winner Fiorente in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Having missed the ‘race that stops a nation’ last year, Brown Panther is likely to return to Flemington on the first Tuesday of November this season to contest the world’s richest handicap.
Winner of the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2816m) last September, the eight-year-old stayer was in top form earlier this year winning the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup (3200m) over the two miles by over three lengths before a mid-May run in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup (2816m) produced a close second behind Snow Sky.
He is now back in full work and showed he was ready for another solid preparation when impressing in a satisfying gallop last Friday afternoon.
Working over the mile (1600m), Brown Panther had jockey Richard Kingscote in the saddle for the hit-out where he pulled away over the final 400m from his full-brother Crocker in a strong effort.
Before a final call on the Melbourne Cup is made Brown Panther is set to defend his title in the Irish St Leger at The Curragh in two weeks’ time, a race he won with ease last year saluting by over six lengths.
Part-owner Michael Owen, a former star English soccer player, confirmed this would be Brown Panther’s final campaign before heading to stud and that the Melbourne Cup was a definite option.
“He goes to stud at the end of the season but if he’s in good shape he may run once or twice before the end of the season,” he wrote on Sport Lobster.
“Races like the Irish St Leger, Champions Day Marathon and Melbourne Cup will all come into consideration.”
Currently Brown Panther doesn’t feature in the futures Melbourne Cup betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au, but once the nominations are out he will be in the mix at a juicy price.
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