Last year’s Melbourne Cup runner-up Max Dynamite is still set to target another run down under in the world’s richest handicap this spring despite a disappointing Ascot Gold Cup run last week.
The Irish stayer is a name know to Aussie punters having travelled down under last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
He caught the eye on the first Tuesday of November at Victoria’s famous Flemington Racecourse with a second to $101 upset winner Prince Of Penzance in the $6 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
That was the William Mullins-trained Great Journey six-year-old’s first start in Australia and his maiden run since a win in York’s Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3300m) that August by a tidy four and a half lengths.
He has had two runs since, the first another solid effort when third in the Group 3 Henry II Stakes at Sandown in May.
His latest run was on Day 3 at Royal Ascot however and Max Dynamite could only manage to finish 10th to the Aidan O’Brien-trained winner Order Of St George in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup (4023m) after running out of room at a critical time in the race.
“He travelled really well. We went down the inside of the winner. It was a gamble. He might have been a bit too far back and I thought we might have been a bit handier,” Max Dynamite’s owher Rich Ricci told Sky Sports this week.
“That being said, (his jockey) Pat (Smullen) didn’t think he stayed (the distance).”
Australia’s Lloyd Williams owns a majority 75% share of Order Of St George and plans to target the Melbourne Cup with the proven stayer, so long as he receives no more than 56kg when Melbourne Cup weights are released on September 15.
The Melbourne Cup is also still on the agenda for Max Dynamite who will be given the chance to atone for his Ascot Gold Cup failure with a Lonsdale Cup title defence next start.
“We will probably drop him back to two miles again. The Lonsdale Cup is the next stop I reckon,” Ricci said.
What Melbourne Cup weight Max Dynamite receives will also help connections to decide whether or not to press onto the two mile classic.
“It depends on what kind of weight he gets and how he runs,” Ricci said.
“You hate to think, as one can do sometimes, that last year was his day and that we are on a downward curve as his two runs have been disappointing.
“I’d say we would give him time off, freshen him up and see how he is. If he performs well in the Lonsdale Cup, we will probably go back.”
Max Dynamite is the equal $17 second favourite in the all-in Melbourne Cup odds along with Japan’s Fame Game who ran sixth in last year’s Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400M) and 13th in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the latest on the Melbourne Cup, pre-nomination betting for which is open now at Ladbrokes.com.au.