Melbourne Cup fancy Brown Panther is in doubt for Sunday’s Group 1 €200,000 Gain Irish St Leger (1 mile, 6 furlongs) at the Curragh in Ireland after developing a temperature overnight.
English trainer Tom Dascombe was to use the St Leger as a major lead up race for the Group 1 $6.2m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5 but informed owner Michael Owen that the five year old stayer is off his food.
“Desperate news. Just got off the phone to Tom Dascombe who informs me that Brown Panther has a temperature and hasn’t eaten anything today,” Owen tweeted.
“Tom and our vets will monitor him in the next few hours but his participation in Sunday’s Irish St Leger looks in doubt.”
Brown Panther has been in outstanding form with wins at his last two starts at Prontefract and Goodwood.
At his first run since October last year, Brown Panther won the Listed £40,000 Totepool Pontefract Castle Stakes (1 mile, 4 furlongs, 8 yards) at Pontefract, England on June 23 and then went on to win the Group 2 £100,000 Artemis Goodwood Cup (2 miles) at Goodwood on August 1.
There will still be plenty of Melbourne Cup interest in the Irish St Leger even if Brown Panther doesn’t take his spot in the classic with Ahzeemah, Royal Diamond, Ernest Hemmingway and Red Cadeaux, who would be making his third trip to Australia if he runs well, all likely to run.
Trainer Ed Dunlop will decide after the St Leger if Red Cadeaux is to line up in his third Melbourne Cup after being beaten a nose by Dunaden in 2011 and then a creditable eighth to Green Moon last year.
Dual Melbourne Cup winning trainer Dermot Weld will saddle up Voleuse De Coeurs and Pale Mimosa in the St Leger and their performance will influence the top Irish trainer’s decision if he is to send them down under.
Brown Panther is currently a $21 chance in Melbourne Cup markets which has the Darren Weir trained Puissance De Lune the favourite at $7.
Ahzeemah from the Godolphin stable is marked at $34 with Red Cadeaux at $41, Voleuse De Coeurs and Pale Mimosa at $51 with Royal Diamond and Ernest Hemmingway $61 chances.