Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer will kick off his Spring Carnival campaign in the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Trainer Gai Waterhouse is in search of a second Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November but The Offer will take a different path to last year’s winner Fiorente.
Waterhouse followed a weight for age program with Fiorente who ran third in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley before realising the leading trainer’s dream of winning the ‘Race That Stops The Nation’ for the first time.
The Cox Plate is off the agenda for The Offer who will be aimed at the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 18 as one of his major lead up races to the Melbourne Cup.
“The Offer will head towards the Caulfield Cup, that’s the way I want to go, and I think that’s the perfect race for him,’’ Waterhouse told The Daily Telegraph.
“There will be no Cox Plate. The Offer and Fiorente are two totally different horses.
“Fiorente was a weight-for-age horse, while The Offer is still a handicap horse at this moment.
The Irish import has been at the top of the Melbourne Cup market order since April after stamping himself as a solid stayer following a hat trick of wins during the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
The 2400m of the Group 3 Ambassador Travel N E Manion Cup at Rosehill on March 29 was the right distance for The Offer to get back into the winner’s stall and he followed that up with a win in the Group 2 $300,000 Schweppes Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick on April 12.
Then at his next start The Offer scored a runaway win in the Group 1 $1m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 19 and stamped himself as a genuine Melbourne contender.
Waterhouse has given The Offer two barrier trials for his return to the racetrack and expects the Montjeu gelding to be competitive but also admits that he will be better as the distances get longer later in his preparation.
“But all my horses go into races to be competitive, none of them go for a look around,’’ Waterhouse said.
“The Offer has done everything right. He’s a lovely big strong gelding, and he’s a force to be reckoned with.’’
In early Melbourne Cup betting The Offer is at the head of the market order at $13 while in Caulfield Cup betting the six year old is sharing the top spot at $17 with Japanese stayer Bande, the Team Hawkes trained La Amistad and Australian Oaks winner Rising Romance.