Melbourne Cup hopeful Van Percy will have one more start in the United Kingdom before heading to Australia after he scored a tough win in the Summer Handicap (2816m) at Goodwood overnight.
Van Percy was purchased by OTI Racing in June to contest the staying races during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and the progressive gelding produced a tough staying performance to score his maiden race win for his new owners from Havana Cooler and Noble Silk.
Trainer Andrew Balding was thrilled with the tough performance of Van Percy and he confirmed that the Sir Percy gelding will run in the Ebor Handicap (2816m) at York in August before returning to Newmarket to complete his quarantine requirements ahead of his trip to Australia.
“He’s tough, not very big, but all heart,” Balding told the media after the win.
“That was really well done by David from that draw.
“With a penalty he’s now likely to get into the Ebor and that’s an obvious target.
“It’s within the quarantine timings so it works out really well.”
OTI Racing purchased Van Percy as a possible contender for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) that will be held at Flemington on November 4, but the rising five-year-old will likely need to win some more races in order to earn a start in ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Balding said that a race like the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 22 could be on the agenda for Van Percy, but he is not ruling out a tilt at the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18, if the stayer is able to gain a start.
“OTI bought a major share in him with that (the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival) in mind,” Balding said.
“Whatever happens, as long as he’s healthy, he’ll go down to Australia in the first quarantine group.
“He’s going to have to go up another 10lb or so to even get into the Melbourne Cup.
“He’s likely to have another couple of runs for me in Australia, maybe in something like the Geelong Cup first and then I think he’ll probably stay down there.
“There’s also the Caulfield Cup to think about.”
OTI Racing are chasing their first win in the Melbourne Cup after Ibicenco (16th) and Ruscello (23rd) failed to fire in the race last year.
Van Percy is currently available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $34 in the betting market at Ladbrokes Australia.