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Jockey Hugh Bowman of Winx fame will try to wait until the official 2017 Melbourne Cup barrier draw before making a call on what international raider he will ride in the ‘race that stops a nation’ this spring.
Bowman is in line for a ride in the $6 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 7 on one of the visiting Europeans and this week put another one of them through their paces at Werribee.
On Tuesday Bowman rode out the Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock-raced Tiberian, who is one of the 14 internationals remaining on the hunt for a ‘Loving Trophy’ after 55 Melbourne Cup 2017 first acceptances were taken by Racing Victoria yesterday.
“I was very pleased with him,” Bowman said.
“He has obviously travelled over well.
“I haven’t really had a good look at his races yet because I didn’t want to have a pre-conceived idea of what I might feel.”
The Alain Couetil-trained stallion is prepared in France and has won four of his past five starts leading up to the trip down under.
A son of Tiberius Caesar, Tiberian was last seen saluting in the Group 2 GP De Deauville (2500m) on August 27 and sits eighth on the updated Melbourne Cup order of entry.
Guaranteed a spot in the capacity 24-horse Melbourne Cup field, Tiberian races as a six-year-old down under and is out to join Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) as French-trained Melbourne Cup winners.
Allocated 55.5kg in the Melbourne Cup weights, Tiberian is the third horse Bowman has partnered ahead of the two mile classic.
Earlier he tried out German galloper Red Cardinal (55kg) who is trained by 2014 Melbourne Cup winning trainer with Protectionist, Andreas Wohler.
Bowman also partnered the Hughie Morrison-trained British visitor Marmelo (55kg), last start winner of the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) in France, the form of which has stacked up in many recent editions of the Melbourne Cup.
The hoop is committed to ride Duke Of Marmalade stallion Marmelo Saturday week in the Group 1 $3 million BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m), but said he wasn’t locking in his Melbourne Cup mount just yet.
“I’ll wait for the barrier draw if I can,” Bowman told Racing Victoria.
“But I want to be fair to everything and obviously I am riding Marmelo in the Caulfield Cup so I’d be very reluctant to make any commitments prior to that because I wouldn’t see that as being very fair to those connections.”
The Melbourne Cup Field & Barrier Draw takes place live at Flemington from 4:30pm (AEDT) post-racing on Victoria Derby Day, Saturday November 4.
Caulfield Cup second declarations closed on Tuesday with 36 stayers still in the mix for the mile and a half feature, Marmelo rated a $26 shot in the latest all-in markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
In pre-field Melbourne Cup 2017 betting Marmelo is at a slightly shorter $21 as is Red Cardinal, while Tiberian pays $26 to take out the famous Flemington Race 7 next month.
“The reality is he’s a pretty similar type of horse to Red Cardinal and Marmelo, who I’ve already partnered,” Bowman added of Tiberian speaking on Tuesday.
“I did similar work on Tiberian this morning that I did on the others earlier in the week.
“So, it’s hard to pick one from the other from what I’ve felt so far.
“I’m not looking for some magical sign that ‘this one is going to win the Cup’. That just doesn’t happen. It’s the one per-centers that will be the difference between winning and losing.
“I’m not a magician and just say ‘You’ve got your Cup winner here’. Not from one feel. It’s a process of getting an understanding of their temperament, how they have travelled over. The level of confidence in the camp.
“He’s certainly a pretty casual customer and he had the opportunity to work with a mate [Garcia] this morning and I was very pleased with the enthusiasm when he came up alongside me so, a good sign.
“He did what you consider a working gallop from about the 2000. From the 800 I let him go at a nice working gallop at a little better than evens.
“What I want is a horse that has a good turn of foot. Obviously a horse that can appreciate the top of the ground because the reality is we’ll be racing on a firm track or at least a firmer track than these horses are used to.”
ATB’s Darren Dance said Tiberian was impressive in his work on Tuesday morning and had travelled well as the syndicate looked to go one better in the Melbourne Cup this year following the second of Heartbreak City to Almandin in 2016.
“He’s really settled in well,” Dance said. “For a horse that’s never travelled before, he’s really travelled wonderfully well. He’s such a relaxed horse for a colt.”
“They [Tiberian and Heartbreak City] are both such relaxed animals.
“I always thought he had equal ability with Heartbreak City, if not even more upside.
“It’s almost impossible to win the thing, but at the moment as we go along, I can’t fault anything and I just hope our luck holds.”
To check out the latest Melbourne Cup 2017 odds online head to Ladbrokes.com.au.
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