Godolphin international stayer Elite Army has the 2016 Melbourne Cup in his sights down under this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor has prepared 21 starters in the ‘race that stops a nation’ on the first Tuesday of November at Flemington four three seconds and a third.
A win in the two mile classic has so far eluded the Godolphin horseman however, something he hopes to change this season with Elite Army targeting the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 1, 2016.
A son of Authorzied, Elite Army is a European five-year-old whose latest win was in the Listed Buckhounds Stakes (2413m) at Ascot in early May.
He backed-up from that with a second at the same famous Great British track behind Kinema in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (2413m).
His latest assignment was at Newmarket Racecourse on July 7 in the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (2413m) where he could only manage to cross sixth behind the Michael Bell-trained Big Orange.
Big Orange won last year’s Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3219m) in late July before traveling to Victoria two starts later lining-up in the 2015 Melbourne Cup as a $61 roughie.
He raced better than his lucrative price in the Melbourne Cup betting markets suggested for a fifth, beaten only two and a half lengths by the even longer-priced winner Prince Of Penzance ($101).
Futures Melbourne Cup markets at Ladbrokes.com.au for this season have Big Orange at a current quote of $31 to return to Oz and improve in his second shot at the world’s richest handicap.
Elite Army is yet to be added to the all-in Melbourne Cup odds, but this week was confirmed by bin Suroor as having the race on the agenda.
“He was disappointing [in the Princess’s Of Wales Stakes]. He needs to have a break now. We will bring him back, I would like to think, at the end of August,” bin Suroor told the media.
“He could go two miles and maybe at the end of the season we will take him to Australia for the Melbourne Cup.”
Another international raider, Order Of St George, is the current $11 Melbourne Cup favourite to hand part-owner, Australia’s Lloyd Williams with his fifth victory.
Williams’ previous Melbourne Cup wins were achieved with Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2007) and most recent Green Moon (2012).
Order Of St George needs to be allocated the right sort of weight to make the trip for a Melbourne Cup bid according to Williams however, the Aidan O’Brien-trained son of Galileo last seen winning the Ascot Gold Cup in mid-June.
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