The airborne Kelly Schweida-trained...
Lindsay Park head trainer David Hayes is leaning towards the stable’s upset Caulfield Cup winner Boom Time as the best of their Melbourne Cup 2017 horses for next Tuesday’s major.
The team have both Boom Time and Ventura Storm as confirmed runners in the Group 1 $6.25 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) and could have Harlem line-up via a lead-up win in Saturday’s Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m).
Both Flying Spur six-year-old Boom Time imported Zoffany entire Ventura Storm come into the Melbourne Cup field via a run in the Group 1 $3 million BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 21.
Their finishing positions in the first let of the Spring Cups double were far apart however with Boom Time winning at 50/1 and five-year-old Ventura Storm crossing over six lengths back 13th in the mile and a half classic.
Hayes is happy to forgive the run of the previous Turnbull Stakes runner-up to Winx Ventura Storm, who was found to be suffering from a hoof abscess after the race.
Still, when pressed to make the call between the two heading into the two miles of the Melbourne Cup, Hayes remains impressed with Boom Time who is a dual Flemington winner from three starts at Headquarters.
Hayes watched the duo have their final serious hit-out on the course proper at Flemington on Thursday morning and was impressed with how both horses worked.
“Flemington were kind enough to let us work on the course proper, Boom Time and Ventura Storm had a serious hit-out and they worked really well,” Hayes told Racing Victoria.
“There wasn’t much between them, but maybe a slight leaning to Boom Time.
“But the good news for Ventura Storm is he hit-out really well and he’s trotted up sound after the gallop.
“He had bruising on his heel and with a couple of days in the water walker and we’ve readjusted his shoes, he’s responded brilliantly without missing too much work.
“He’s been able to do a big gallop on Monday up the hill at Lindsay Park and this morning’s course proper gallop will just tighten him up nicely.
“It’s full steam ahead toward the Melbourne Cup, I’m very excited.”
Ethereal (2001) was the last Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup double winner and currently Boom Time sits as a $34 chance in pre-field odds at Ladbrokes.com.au to be the next.
Both Ventura Storm and Caulfield Cup eighth-placed Harlem, winner of the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) three back, are installed at the same price in futures Melbourne Cup betting.
Boom Time carried 52kg to victory in the Caulfield Cup and following a 1kg penalty is in the Melbourne Cup weights with 53kg and Cory Parish retaining the ride.
Allocated 54kg for the ‘Race That Stops A Nation’, Ventura Storm will have Hong Kong-based Glen Boss over for the mount.
A three-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey aboard record-holder Makybe Diva (2003-05), Boss picked up the late ride this year following the suspension of Regan Bayliss.
A jockey is yet to be locked in for Harlem who needs to win the ballot exemption on offer in the Lexus Stakes on Victoria Derby Day.
Hayes is more than happy to be running the horse three days out from Melbourne Cup Day, a campaign often employed by the late Cups King Bart Cummings, even if he didn’t need to.
“I would have run this horse even if he was in the Melbourne Cup because I think he needs another good hard run under his belt to get him ready so it’s more of a traditional, old-fashioned Australian Melbourne Cup preparation,” Hayes said.
“I just think he was a bit fresh going into the Caulfield Cup with that blockbuster speed that it was run at, it just found him out.
“He’s very fit now…I think with this good hard run and hopefully a win on the weekend will have him spot on for the Cup.”
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