The 2013 Melbourne Cup preparation for English-trained stayer Brown Panther has not been without controversy but jockey Richard Kingscote is happy with the condition of the stayer heading into the Group 1 event at Flemington next Tuesday.
Brown Panther made headlines around the world when a staff member for trainer Tom Dascombe broke into the International Equine Centre at Werribee and did not follow the strict Australian quarantine restrictions.
The offending staff member has since been sent back to England and Brown Panther has continued to prepare for the 2013 Melbourne Cup at Werribee; with Kingscote partnering the Shirocco gelding in his first serious piece of work over 1400 metres yesterday morning before being given a light canter this morning.
Kingscote told Sky Racing HQ that he was happy with the trackwork performance of the six-year-old and believes that he is going into the 2013 Melbourne Cup as one of several winning chances.
“He had an easy morning today and just had a canter to stretch his legs,” Kingscote said.
“I was happy, he relaxed really well and quickened well up the straight.
“He had a nice gear there and stretched out to the line.
“I was really happy with how he went and I couldn’t ask anymore really.
“I think that he is a genuine contender; he stays well, has a bit of speed and he has a bit of class.
“Hopefully with a nice draw and a bit of luck we will run a strong race.”
The final 2013 Melbourne Cup field and barrier draw will not be confirmed until Saturday afternoon but there does not appear to be a great deal of speed in the likely make-up of the field.
Kingscote said that Brown Panther is a very versatile galloper and, depending on the barrier draw, he will be looking to establish a position in the first half of the field.
“He is pretty versatile; as long as he is in behind something and relaxed it doesn’t matter if he is fourth or 10th as long as he is settled,” Kingscote said.
“He is a lovely horse to ride, he is pretty straight forward and it doesn’t matter what ground, so he is a pretty nice ride to have really.
“In his younger days if he saw a bit of daylight he used to do a little bit too much but this year he seems much better.
“He has only raced three times this year but each time he has been pretty good.”
Brown Panther has European form around a number of the leading 2013 Melbourne Cup contenders, including Masked Marvel, Sea Moon, Mount Athos, Seville and Simenon, and Kingscote believes that form is good enough for his mount to be considered one of the leading chances in the race.
“We have a bit of form with them, a couple of them have beaten him before and he has beaten a couple of them before, and I think that we are thereabouts,” Kingscote said.
“The horse is well and my fingers are crossed.”
Brown Panther’s famous owner Michael Owen, a recently-retired soccer superstar, is currently on his way to Australia and will be at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day.