Dolphin Jo punched well and truly above his weight in the 2007 Melbourne Cup, few gave him a chance but his strong will and hardened desire got him home in a very credible fifth place.
That run was over three and a half years ago and you’d be forgiven for assuming the sight of Dolphin Jo at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November was well and truly over.
The reality is you’re probably right, but there is a glimmer of hope that the rising nine year old could defy all odds and once again line up in Australia’s richest race.
It would take a monumental effort but he takes his first steps on that journey tomorrow upon his return to Flemington.
Dolphin Jo has had just the one race start since sustaining a serious injury nearly a year and a half ago.
He returned to racing on June 18th where he finished nearly fifteen lengths off the leader in second last at Moonee Valley.
That was over 1600m though and tomorrow he gets back out to 2000m in the Baden-Baden Trophy in Melbourne.
Naturally he’s the top weight with 59kg however the three kilogram claim of jockey Katelyn Mallyon gets him back down to 56kgs.
He is trained by Terry and Karina O’Sullivan out of Stawell and connections are said to be ecstatic to have the horse back fit and healthy.
“He’s slowly building back up in distance, which is great,” Terry O’Sullivan said.
“We’re not thinking Melbourne Cup or anything long term at this stage. We’ll just play it by ear and see how the old horse goes.”
So while the 2011 Melbourne Cup isn’t one the realistic plans for Dolphin Jo, you can bet it’s still the number one desire on the dream list for all involved.
It was whirlwind journey which saw him get into the 2007 Melbourne Cup field and one which the stable and the entire community would dearly love to see happen again.
It’s already been a tough fight for the old warhorse to even get this far, a near-fore tendon injury sustained last year just about ended his career.
“”I wasn’t sure if he would come back but he was galloping around the paddock and he looked pretty good so we put him back into work,” O’Sullivan said before his last start.
“He’s happy back in work but I expect him to take two or three runs to come up as he has never won a race shorter than 2200 metres.”
“There are no set plans with him and we just hope he stands up and can get into some of those longer handicap races,” O’Sullivan said.
“We are not thinking he will be running in this year’s Melbourne Cup.
“We will just play it by ear and if he can get into a race like the Lavazza Long Black on Melbourne Cup day that would be terrific.
“He’s a lovely old horses who has given the owners a lot of fun, but if he is not coming up we will probably retire him.
Dolphin Jo has only ever won five of his 47 career starts with a further nine placings to his name.
He has made them count though with nearly $650,000 in prize money accrued.
Back in 2006 he actually won three races in a row culminating in the Listed VRC St Ledger.
In 2007 he won the Listed Bart Cummings before his greatest win came in 2008 at Group 2 level in the Winning Edge Presentation Stakes at Caulfield.
Dolphin Jo also raced in the 2006 Melbourne Cup but was well beaten to 15th spot.