Sunday at the Sunshine Coast sees the postponed...
A more mature Aidan O’Brien-trained Bondi Beach is warming up at Werribee and gearing up for a shot at the 2016 Melbourne Cup, the international out to atone for his unplaced run in the two mile classic last spring.
Twelve months ago the son of Galileo travelled down under and took on a full field of 24 star stayers in the ‘race that stops a nation’ at just his sixth career start.
The Irish galloper struggled to stay in touch with his more experienced rivals in the iconic $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington and finished 16th.
It was still a more competitive effort than it reads on paper, the lightly-raced stallion beaten only six lengths by the $101 winner Prince Of Penzance in the world’s richest handicap.
The Melbourne Cup run followed two brave seconds in the UK, including his second in the Group 1 Doncaster St Leger (2917m).
This season Bondi Beach is back in Victoria and is gearing up for another run in the Melbourne Cup field on Tuesday, November 1.
Since his Melbourne Cup loss last year the now five-year-old (by Australian racing terms) has had four subsequent runs for two wins and two thirds.
The latest on September 10 at Leopardstown on September 10 saw him cross 2.5 lengths away third to Zhukova in the Group 3 Enterprise Stakes (2414m) under a hefty 62.5kg.
Currently in the Melbourne Cup weights the maturing galloper is allocated a far more manageable 55kg, an exact weight last carried to victory in the famous Flemington Race 7 by Fiorente (2013).
O’Brien’s travelling foreman T.J. Comerford is confident the horse is nearing peak form and is a far better chance in the Melbourne Cup this year.
“I’d say he’s more grown up this year, last year he was a baby,” Comerford told Racing Victoria.
“He was here last year and knows his surroundings and we’re very happy with him.
“This year he has more runs under his belt and last year he’d had very few races, I think he’d only had five starts and it might have been a bit much to ask him.
“This time the horse is much more experienced a hopefully he’ll do a lot better.”
On Thursday morning Bondi Beach worked on the course proper at Werribee over 1400m and put in a pleasing gallop according to Comerford who said they would exercise the stayer every day between now and the Melbourne Cup.
“He just had a canter around and stretched his legs but he’s very good and has settled in well,” he said.
“He’ll exercise every day and build up towards the Melbourne Cup but at the moment everything is good with the horse.”
The internationals have a strong recent Melbourne Cup record including wins by the Andreas Wohler-trained German Protectionist (2014), and French raiders Dunaden (2011) and American (2010).
O’Brien has saddled-up seven previous Melbourne Cup horses for just the one third place finish.
He is no stranger to Group 1 success in Australia however having prepared the 2014 Cox Plate winner Adelaide.
The latest all-in Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Hartnell ($5) who takes on Winx in this weekend’s $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
Last weekend’s Caulfield Cup winning mare Jameka, who has been penalised 2kg taking her Melbourne Cup weight up to 53.5kg, occupies the second line of futures Melbourne Cup betting at $6.50.
Bondi Beach is listed as a $10 chance, equal third favourite with the Robert Hickmott-trained Group 3 The Bart Cummings winner Almandin.
Almandin is raced by Team Williams, including four-time Melbourne Cup winning owner Lloyd Williams, who also race Bondi Beach.
Check out the latest Melbourne Cup 2016 odds online now at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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