Havana Beat A Chance For Melbourne Cup

By: Thomas Hackett
July 7th, 2014
Andrew Balding won the 2013 edition of the Mackinnon Stakes with Side Glance.

Andrew Balding won the 2013 edition of the Mackinnon Stakes with Side Glance. Photo by: Race Horse Photos Australia

English trainer Andrew Balding has revealed that progressive stayer Havana Beat is a chance of coming to Australia to contest the 2014 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 4.

Balding had his first taste of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival last year when he brought Side Glance to Australia for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and the Passing Glance gelding finished a credible sixth in the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship before scoring his maiden win at Group 1 level in the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington a week later.

The Kingsclere-based trainer is already expected to head to Australia for a 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with OTI Racing-owned stayer Van Percy, but he told Racing Victoria that there is also a chance that he will be bring Havana Gold to Victoria for a crack at the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).

“It would be a possibility,” Balding said.

“He’s ideally suited by a big field and a strong gallop.

“He’ll go to the Ebor first.”

Havana Beat made his racing debut at Sandown in 2012 and scored a dominant three lengths victory in his second race start before being thrown in the deep end against top-level competition in his three-year-old season in 2013.

The Teofilo gelding finished fourth in the Tattersalls Millions Three-Year-Old Trophy (2011m) at Newmarket on April 18 before finishing third behind Ruler Of The World in the Group 3 Chester Vase (2474m) at Chester on May 9.

Havana Beat made his Royal Ascot debut with a fifth place finish in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes (2414m) on June 21 and returned to the placings in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy (2615m) at Newmarket on July 11 before performing below his best in both the Group 3 Gordon Stakes (2414m) at Goodwood on July 31 and the Group 1 Ladbrokes St Leger Stakes (2937m) at Doncaster on September 14.

The four-year-old started his 2014 racing season with fair performances in the Group 2 Qatar Bloodstock Jockey Club Stakes (2414m) and John Sunley Memorial Levy Board Handicap (2414m) and he was far from disgraced against the top stayers in the United Kingdom in the Gold Cup (4023m) during the 2014 Royal Ascot Meeting before returning to winner form in the Listed Sandown Park Coral Marathon (3213m) on Saturday.

Owner Mick Mariscotti is keen to have a runner in the Melbourne Cup and based on his performances over staying trips believes that Havana Beat would be suited by the 3200 metres of the Melbourne Cup, but said that he would wait until the progressive galloper runs in the Ebor Handicap at York in August before he makes a decision on the future of his star galloper.

“I think we’ll see how he gets on in the Ebor first,” Mariscotti said.

“He deserves a bit of a rest after running in the Gold Cup and then coming here.

“We’ve always thought two miles was the right distance, as he always does the absolute minimum.

“Andrew will guide us in the right direction, so let’s see.”

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