A good barrier draw will assist Champagne...
The Alain Couetil-trained French raider Tiberian firmed in Melbourne Cup 2017 betting overnight after securing his ticket down under with a Group 2 win at home at Deauville in the Prix De Deauville (2500m).
The Tiberius Caesar stallion, who will race as a six-year-old in Australia this spring, was subsequently confirmed by owners Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock (ATB) as heading to Victoria for a shot at the Group 1 $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday November 7.
In-form stayer Tiberian has winning form up to 3000m at home in France and has now won four of his past five starts, including two on the trot, after also taking out the Group 3 Prix De Reux (2500m) earlier in the month narrowly under a hefty weight allocation (61.5kg).
The bookmakers at Ladbrokes.com.au reacted accordingly after the galloper’s Prix De Deauville success, where he defeated Doha Dream (2nd) and Travelling Man (3rd).
Tiberian has now firmed into a $17 shot in the latest all-in Melbourne Cup odds online, with markets co-led by Japanese raider Admire Deus ($15) and the reigning champion Almandin ($15).
Almandin took his first step towards a second Melbourne Cup success at Moonee Valley on Saturday with a first up second in a 2040m handicap with 61kg on his back.
The French last took out the ‘race that stops a nation’ when the Mikel Delzangles-trained Dunaden saluted in 2011.
The last back-to-back Melbourne Cup winner meanwhile was superstar mare Makybe Diva who saluted three times on the trot from 2003-2005 and who remains the sole three-time winner of the two-mile classic.
Tiberian’s owners ATB will be out to go one better in this season’s Melbourne Cup results after their galloper Heartbreak City finished a devastatingly close second to Almandin in the quinella last year.
The Lloyd Williams-raced Almandin will also be out to make Melbourne Cup history as a veteran eight-year-old, but looked evergreen in his resuming run with hoop Ben Melham aboard.
“It was what we were expecting,” stable representative and Lloyd’s son Nick Williams told the media post-win on Saturday.
“In all seriousness, he had 61 kilos but he was thrown in with the weight scale with this being a quality handicap.
“You would have wanted to have seen him run well. Benny gave him a nice ride, let him find his rhythm and I though he finished off pretty well.
“For a first-up effort I couldn’t have been happier.
“He’s very well. I think he probably will have a light campaign.
“I am sure Dad will have got some races picked out for him.”
The official 2017 Melbourne Cup Nominations close at midday on Tuesday, August 29, along with those for the Caulfield Cup run on October 21.
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