Godolphin stayer Sky Hunter now appears likely to make the trip to Australia for the 2015 Melbourne Cup after he returned to racing with a tough second in the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup (2217m) at Newbury on September 19.
Sky Hunter had not had a race start since he recorded an impressive win in the Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold (2410m) at Meydan on March 7 and he was settled behind the leader Eagle Top in the early stages of the race.
The Motivator gelding showed an impressive turn-of-foot to go past Eagle Top when he was asked for an extra effort by James Doyle, but he was no match for Champions Stakes contender The Corsican in the final stages of the race.
The Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3 has always been a possible target for Sky Hunter and trainer Saeed Bin Suroor revealed after the race that the five-year-old would likely enter quarantine along with stablemate Secret Number next week.
“Sky Hunter ran a very good race on his first appearance since March, especially as he had a penalty for his win in the Dubai City Of Gold,” Bin Suroor said.
“We will see how he comes out of this race but we will look at entering him into quarantine for Australia next week along with Secret Number, who will also be considered for the Emirates Melbourne Cup.”
Sky Hunter made his racing debut in November 2012 under the care of Andre Fabre in France and he was purchased by Godolphin after he finished third behind Intello in the Group 1 Prix Du Jockey Club (2100m) at Chantilly in June of 2013.
He failed to fire in his first two race starts for his new stable, but he claimed his maiden stakes win when he took out the Listed Doonside Cup (2012m) at Ayr on September 20 last year and he proved that win was no fluke when he recorded a ninth lengths romp in the Group 3 Inns Stakes (2419m) at Newbury on October 25.
Sky Hunter is currently available at 2015 Melbourne Cup odds of $34 with Ladbrokes, while Japanese stayer Fame Game ($8) is a clear favourite from Hokko Brave ($15), Goodwood Cup winner Max Dynamite ($15), Hardwicke Stakes winner Snow Sky ($15), local Godolphin chance Hartnell ($17) and Chris Waller-trained Who Shot Thebarman ($17).