The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
French galloper Tiberian may have finished a well-beaten last in the Group 1 Grand Prix De Saint-Cloud over the weekend but the horse’s Australian co-owner Darren Dance hasn’t ruled out a Melbourne Cup 2017 bid down under this spring.
The Alain Couetil-trained five-year-old never got close in the mile and a half feature, won by the Alain Royer De Dupre-trained Zarak who could now be Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe-bound, run on Sunday.
That hasn’t deterred connections however from naming the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) over the two miles at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday, November 7 as a possible spring target.
The Tiberius Caesar stallion, co-raced by Dance of Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock (ATB), was previously seen winning over the same track (Saint-Cloud) and distance in the Group 3 D’hedouville Stakes.
He was over 18 lengths beaten in Sunday’s Group 1 after over-racing throughout on the unsuitably Soft-rated track, but Dance remains confident the horse could atone for the loss should he travel to Australia over the spring.
“The horse went into the race in really good order,” Dance told Racing Victoria on Monday.
“They weren’t sure they could win the race, but would’ve been happy with a top-five finish.
“Unfortunately, he’s not a Soft-ground horse, and we ended up on a Soft track.
“That was the first concern, because we bought him because he’s a firm-track horse. And then he got left in front early and he over-raced on the bridle, and he couldn’t get him back under him. Then the Godolphin horse [Hawkbill] come up on his outside and that just made things worse.
“They got into a mini-race, and he was way too keen through those stages. And on straightening he had little to give, and his race was done.
“Then there was some interference, the jockey fell off [the nearby Doha Dream] … it’s just a race we’ve got to put a line through.”
Prior to entering quarantine, Tibernian is set to race again in either France or the UK.
Dance and ATB are looking to go one better in the ‘race that stops a nation’ after their second with the Tony Martin-trained Heartbreak City running just a neck back second to Almandin in the Melbourne Cup quinella last spring.
Melbourne Cup nominations for 2017 are open until midday on Tuesday, August 29.
Futures Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au is now open with Tiberian listed as a $41 roughie.
The Lloyd Williams-raced defending champion Almandin meanwhile is at $26 to go back-to-back for the first time since the mighty mare Makybe Diva made it three on the trot from 2003-05.
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