New Zealand trainer Murray Baker is gearing Lion Tamer towards the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup with another run at Caulfield this weekend.
Lion Tamer won his last start in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes and will now take his place in the $400,000 Caulfield Stakes tomorrow.
Baker is hopeful Melbourne will not receive any further rain overnight to ensure Caulfield remains as a dead-rated track.
“Dead 5 or 6; that would be a bit of give in the ground,” Baker said.
The four-year-old entire is back to racing after having ten months off following his Group 1 Victoria Derby win last year due to a leg injury.
“He kicked the first day he was back in training right on the bone and of course it didn’t heal,” Baker said.
“He consequently missed all of the autumn.”
The trainer revealed that they had employed the use of maggots to heal Lion Tamer’s badly damaged leg.
“You had to get it to heal from the inside out so they got industrial maggots from Christchurch,” he said.
“We just couldn’t get it to heal and the surgeons said let’s have a go at this.
“And once he did it it healed very quickly.”
Baker had Lion Tamer in training for three months before he finished fourth in his comeback run in the 1,400 metre Challenge Stakes in August.
“We got him into work about the middle of May and we did a lot of basic run with him and got him pretty fit,” Murray said.
“He ran a bit like a horse that day needing a mile or more.”
Lion Tamer won his last run by more than a length over Southern Speed and Midas Touch in the Underwood.
“We’re very happy with him, he’s working very well and we thought the 1800 would suit him,” Baker said.
The Storming Home entire will step up to 2,000 metres for tomorrow’s Caulfield Stakes.
“You know what racing’s like, hopefully he can run well but you never know in this game,” Baker said.
“Touch wood everything’s good at this stage.”
The horse will be ridden by jockey Michael Rodd, who rode Lion Tamer in his latest victory.
“He’s been an exceptional jockey Michael,” Baker said.
“He’s got an amazing record and fortunately over the years we’ve had a lot of luck with him.”
Lion Tamer is currently fourth in the ballot order to compete in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup on November 1 thanks to last year’s Derby win.
“He is a natural stayer so we’ve just got to get him fit enough,” his trainer said.
Lion Tamer is also working towards a run in the $3 million Cox Plate later this month where he will face early favourite and fellow New Zealander Jimmy Choux.
“(Jimmy Choux a ) very talented horses and he’s got a great record, he’s had a bit of an advantage where he’s had three runs at his home track and required no travelling,” Murray said.
“He’ll definitely be the horse to beat.”