Leading English stayer Brown Panther is set to come to Australia for the 2013 Melbourne Cup (3200m) despite finishing fifth in the Listed Foundation Stakes (2011m) at Newmarket overnight.
Brown Panther was competing over the shortest distance since he made his debut in 2010 and jockey Richard Kingscote rode the Shirocco entire positively by taking him to the lead in the early stages of the race.
The five-year-old came back to the field with 400 meters left to run and faded to finish fifth while the classy Grandeur stormed down the outside to record an impressive victory.
While the performance looked disappointing to the naked eye, trainer Tom Dascombe told The Racing Post after the race that he was happy with the effort and confirmed that Brown Panther would push on to the Melbourne Cup.
“I’m pleased with that,” Dascombe said.
“Grandeur is a good horse in his own right and we had to give him 5lb.
“In hindsight, we’ve probably gone off too fast and not got home and I’m sure he’ll be fine and we’ll go to Melbourne.”
Owner Michael Owen believes that the conditions of the Foundation Stakes did not suit Brown Panther and he said he was confident that the tough stayer would improve when stepped back up to more appropriate distances.
We didn’t get to go to our intended target of the Irish St Leger but wanted a race before the Melbourne Cup,” Owen said.
“As much as you always want to win he’s run a good race, giving weight all around over an inadequate trip, so you’ve got to be pleased.
“He needs a lot further than that to be shown at his best, but he’s run a decent race and hopefully will come out sound and we can go to Melbourne.”
The defeat was the first that Brown Panther had suffered this season after he began his campaign with a comfortable victory in the Listed Castle Stakes (2413m) in June before beating a strong field in Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3218m) last month.
Brown Panther has been considered a contender for the Melbourne Cup since he finished second behind Lloyd Williams-owned Masked Marvel and beat home Sea Moon and Seville in the 2011 edition of the Group 1 St Leger Stakes (2937m).
He is currently on the eighth line of 2013 Melbourne Cup betting markets at odds of $21.