Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Chris Waller’s evergreen veteran stayer Who Shot Thebarman is in the paddock gearing up for a fourth shot at the ‘race that stops a nation’ with the 2017 Melbourne Cup target pending in the spring.
The rising nine-year-old has been ultra-consistent in the two mile classics down under since the son of Yamanin Vital transferred from New Zealand to Sydney in the autumn of 2014.
After being in the race fall during the original running of this season’s Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m), Who Shot Thebarman bounced back and finished a brave second to the English raider Polarisation in the re-run on April 22.
That was his fourth Sydney Cup and his second time finishing in the money after also crossing second to stablemate Grand Marshal in the 2015 edition.
Part-owner Dan O’Leary was super impressed with the April 22 run considering Who Shot Thebarman gave the weight away under 57kg while the Charlie Appleby-trained winner carted just 51.5kg to victory for team Godolphin.
“If you squared up the weights our bloke would have won easily,” O’Leary told New Zealand Racing Desk.
Of course the premier two mile staying showdown held each spring is Flemington’s Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) contested on the first Tuesday of November.
Who Shot Thebarman has contested the past three editions of the world’s richest handicap, most recently finishing a brave fifth last year behind Almandin.
His other Melbourne Cup results netted an 11th to Prince Of Penzance in 2015 and the excellent third as a $21 roughie behind Prince Of Penzance in 2014.
O’Leary confirmed the team had the classic on the cards for the $2.8 million earner again this coming Melbourne Cup Carnival as Who Shot Thebarman looks to break a notable winning drought going back to the Group 2 Sandown Classic (2400m) from 2015.
“He’ll be spelled now and we’ll be looking at Melbourne in the spring again,” O’Leary said this week.
“It will probably be similar to last year and target the Moonee Valley Cup and then flow into the Melbourne Cup. He’s still competitive at the top level.”
The Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) takes place on Cox Plate Day in late October and Who Shot Thebarman was second to Grand Marshal in the race last season.
It has been a great ride for O’Leary and fellow connections since his brother Michael paid just $15,000 for Who Shot Thebarman as a weanling.
Early 2017 Melbourne Cup nominations are taken in late August.
Pre-nomination Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are currently led by the Appleby-trained Francis Of Assisi ($15) who won the Group 3 Bendigo Cup (2400m) – Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) double in Melbourne last spring.
Who Shot Thebarman can be found further down the futures Melbourne Cup betting markets at $41 to hand Waller with his first win in the major.
Check out the full Melbourne Cup all-in pricing on your early selections now at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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