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Newmarket-based horseman Sir Mark Prescott has confirmed plans to head down under this spring targeting the 2017 Melbourne Cup with his smart stallion St Michel.
A five-year-old son of Sea The Stars, St Michel raced at the York Ebor Festival overnight and put in a brilliant performance ahead of his Australian trip.
Ridden by Luke Morris the galloper finished a brave third in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup Stakes over two miles behind the feat finishing Montaly (1st) and the beaten Sir Michael Stoute-trained favourite Dartmouth (2nd), owned by The Queen.
Prescott is no stranger to the Melbourne Cup Carnival having travelled to Victoria last season, guest speaking at the Carbine Club.
This year he will make the trip again, this time bringing with him progressive stayer St Michel who displayed his potential last September when third in the Group 2 Doncaster Cup (3621m).
Run on Tuesday November 7 at Flemington Racecourse, the Group 1 $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) has been a long-term target for St Michel according to assistant trainer William Butler.
“He will definitely go to Melbourne this time,” Butler confirmed to the media at York.
“He would have got in the race last year off this mark, but the worry was he wouldn’t have got in the previous year.
“He has now sealed his ticket with that run though.
“All year the Melbourne Cup has been the target.
“He is best fresh and all being well he will go into first quarantine.
“Sir Mark had a reckey [reconnaissance mission] there last year and loved it. He doesn’t rave much but he raved about that.”
2017 Melbourne Cup nominations close next Tuesday, August 29, and could also feature the Willie Mullins-trained Thomas Hobson who was another Lonsdale Cup Stakes starter.
The veteran finished seventh after losing his place inside the final furlong and remains a $21 chance in pre-nomination Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au despite connections being disappointed with the performance.
“He had no cover and was disappointing to be honest,” owner Rich Ricci said.
“It is hard to say he will go to Melbourne on the back of that.
“He travelled well into the race and turning for home I was thinking happy days, but it wasn’t to be.
“We will have to take stock and talk to Willie about it.”
All-in Melbourne Cup odds currently have St Michel listed as a $26 chance with futures markets on the ‘race that stops a nation’ led by Japanese raider Admire Deus ($13).
To get behind your early Melbourne Cup 2017 selections at the right price head to Ladbrokes.com.au, home of all the sprig’s best Group 1 racing odds.
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