A good barrier draw will assist Champagne...
Nick Olive is confident heading into the 2017 Melbourne Cup on November 7 with his gutsy mare Single Gaze who has come on well since her brave Caulfield Cup second.
The now five-year-old daughter of Not A Single Doubt earned her shot at the ‘Race That Stops The Nation’ running the surprise second behind upset winner Boom Time in the Group 1 $3 million BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 21.
A $31 shot in betting, Single Gaze improved on her lead-up fourth in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) and showed-up plenty of better fancied stayers crossing one and a quarter-lengths off the Lindsay Park-trained champ with Kathy O’Hara in the saddle.
It was the first top three performance from the former Group 1 winner since her second in Doomben’s Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2200m) back in the winter.
The Caulfield Cup result was also exactly what the Canberra-based Olive needed to see from the $2 million earner to press onto the Group $6.25 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Earlier in her career Single Gaze enjoyed a win in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) back in March of 2016 before things went amiss when she fell in that year’s Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m).
The Caulfield Cup was her first start over the 2400m since that race fall and she more than held her own over the mile and a half.
A solid Sandown hit-out on Tuesday from the mare has Olive confident Single Gaze can extend further and see out a strong two miles in the Melbourne Cup field next week.
“I think she’s gone forward again [since the Caulfield Cup] and all her bloods suggest she has as well,” Olive told Racing Victoria trackside at Sandown on Tuesday.
“She’s held her condition great, she’s probably lost five kilos the whole time she’s been down here in Melbourne so it’s not a worry at all in that respect, she’s eating well and everything is great.
“Obviously it’s a very different race to what she’s been racing in so we won’t know for sure until she’s run [the 3200m] but all her work suggests that she will [run it out].”
Single Gaze is one of the confirmed 2017 Melbourne Cup Horses sitting 11th on the latest order of entry for the world’s richest handicap.
Her regular rider O’Hara continues associations in the classic out to join Michelle Payne (Prince Of Penzance in 2015) as the only other Melbourne Cup winning female jockey in history.
Single Gaze is currently allocated 53kg in the Melbourne Cup weights, the same kilos she carried in the Caulfield Cup.
That is the same weight the aforementioned triple-figure, Darren Weir-trained Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance carried to victory in the race two years ago at a blowout price of 100/1.
The latest Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au list Single Gaze at an all-in quote of $26.
That is equal with the other best-fancied mare to beat home the boys in the Melbourne Cup results for the first time since Makybe Diva (2003-5), the Weir-trained Amelie’s Star.
Speaking Melbourne Cup tactics, Olive added that Single Gaze would be ridden forward depending on the barriers allocated on Saturday afternoon when the official Melbourne Cup 2017 field is released.
“I think she’ll be in a forward position but probably not as forward as she was in the Caulfield Cup hopefully, although it will all come down to the barrier draw,” he said.
“[The next week is] basically just holding her together and maintaining things, it’s been a long, arduous campaign so it’s just mainly keeping her happy and healthy and fit.
“I think she’ll need a nice run, that’s probably the most important thing, and she needs to be able to make her run when she can.
“She’s a horse who will give for a long way off the bit so she needs to be able to go forward when it’s time to go forward.”
To get behind Single Gaze in pre-field Melbourne Cup betting head to Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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