Irish horseman William Mullins is seriously considering a trip down under for the 2016 Melbourne Cup on November 1 with his veteran stayer Clondaw Warrior.
Racing as a nine-year-old in Europe, the son of Overbury would be a 10-year-old in Australian racing terms and no Melbourne Cup winner in the past 30 plus years has been older than seven.
Mullins enjoyed a second in last year’s $6 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) quinella with his Great Journey gelding – that season’s Lonsdale Cup winner – Max Dynamite running a half-length off the upset 101/1 winner Prince Of Penzance.
He has Max Dynamite, last seen finishing sixth to Order Of St George in the Ascot Gold Cup in mid-June, on a possible path to the Melbourne Cup field again this season.
The horseman is also hoping to get a nice weight off Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter for stablemate Clondaw Warrior who earned consideration for the ‘race that stops a nation’ over the weekend.
The warhorse caught the eye with a second behind Da Big Hoss in the Grade 3 American St Leger (2615m) in the USA at Arlington.
Pre-race Mullins wasn’t sure about aiming the galloper at the Melbourne Cup, but after the gutsy performance he was all for looking at the famous Flemington feature over the two miles.
“He’s a long shot this minute, but we’ll see how he goes today,” Mullins told the media an hour before kick-off on Saturday.
“He looked like he wanted every bit of it there,” the trainer then said of the step-up in distance the galloper would have to handle for the Melbourne Cup bid.
“He might have one more run [in England or Ireland]. We’ll see. He’ll have to improve a little in the weights to get into the race, but we’d love to go if we can.
“It’s incredible to think he’s still improving.
“Every day he comes out he runs a good race. He’s tough. He’s reliable. He goes on good to firm ground. And he stays. Only age is against him.”
The aforementioned Ascot Gold Cup winner Order Of St George is the current $11 favourite in ante-post Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Max Dynamite is the equal $17 second favourite to go one better than his second last year with the 2014 Melbourne Cup fourth-placed Signoff for last year’s winning trainer Darren Weir.
Owner of the weekend’s American St Leger winner Harvey Diamond said he has been approached to bring Da Big Hoss down under, but that he wasn’t tipping the horse to become the first American-trained runner in the Melbourne Cup.
“It’s in the back of my mind,” Diamond said.
“I’ve heard from a trainer who’s very interested in him coming over and had proposed a few different ideas.
“It would take the right person making the right invitation with the right plans.
“It’s a long way. If we took him over there, we’d probably leave him for a year and hopefully find a syndication or a stud job over there.”
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