One of the lightly weighted European entries for the world’s richest handicap at Flemington this November, Forever Now is more likely to be saved for the Melbourne Cup 2016 with the stayer instead targeting a Newmarket run at home this season.
The now Martyn Meade-trained Galileo stallion is a Northern Hemisphere four-year-old who has won two from 10 to date, most recently the Listed March Stakes (2816m) at Goodwood in August last year when still prepared by ace horseman John Gosden.
Since then he has been competitive in a number of staying features including his third to Mizzou in the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes (3219m) at Ascot back in April and a fourth to Vent de Force over the same distance in the Group 3 Henry II Stakes at Sandown in late May.
At his latest start Forever Now was eighth past the post beaten four lengths by Ed Dunlop’s fellow Melbourne Cup nominated hope Trip To Paris in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup (4023m) when carrying 57kg on June 18.
The Ascot Cup run was his last for Gosden, who has saddled-up just one Melbourne Cup hope over the years, before being transferred to Meade’s care at Newmarket following his sale to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khaalifa’s Essafinaat operation from Lady Bamford.
Also part of the new team of connections is Australia’s David Caddy, which is another reason the Melbourne Cup is an attractive target for the lightly-raced stallion.
Despite being allocated just 51kg for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November, connections of Forever Now are instead looking at the famous race in a further 12 months when the horse has matured further according to Racing Victoria.
“I think we will probably run him at Newmarket next week and see how he goes, get a bit more of a feel for him, then decide what we do from there,” Meade said.
“Obviously he’s in the Melbourne Cup but it is more likely we’ll look at that next year. We’ve not had him very long and it would be a bit of a hurry. We’re thrilled to bits with him, though, and looking forward to see him run.”
The Newmarket run is the Listed Jockey Club Bowl (3200m) this Thursday, which is the last day the second contingent of European gallopers can entre quarantine ahead of a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival raid.
The Jockey Club Bowl, contested over the same distance as the Melbourne Cup, could also feature other possible Down Under-bound hopefuls including the Andrew Balding-trained Havana Beat and Mark Johnston’s Oriental Fox.
Both Teofilo six-year-old Havana Beat, who was third in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup (2816m) behind Snow Sky back in mid-May, and in-form veteran Oriental Fox are 51kg light weights for the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Havana Beat’s recent form has left a lot to be desired, including an eighth on September 11 when beaten nearly 12 lengths in the Group 2 Doncaster Cup (3621m) and as such only pays $67 in futures Melbourne Cup odds.
Oriental Fox is a Southern Hemisphere eight-year-old but his form is spot on of late with a second in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) on August 23, the form of which has stacked up in recent Melbourne Cups, and his last start third at Longchamp in a Group 3 over 3100m.
Far from a confirmed runner in Australia this season though, Oriental Fox is a $101 roughie for the Melbourne Cup.
Current all-in Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are firmly led by Japan’s Fame Game ($8), allocated 57kg which is a weight no Melbourne Cup winner has carried in over 30 years, while Forever Now is installed as a $41 chance.
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