Sahara Sun could be the $6m Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) sacrificial lamb if he doesn’t perform well in today’s Bendigo Cup.
The well-traveled Luca Cumani trained galloper has come in for some morning fixed price Bendigo Cup specking from $13 to $10 with Luxbet, the same price with Tattsbet and $11 with Tabsportsbet.
Cumani wants the Chilean Derby runner-up to finish in the first three but his chances of a start on the first Tuesday in November could depend on the order of entry attrition of Melbourne Cup horses.
The Cumani team have four horses aiming at the Melbourne Cup who have pretty much the same ownership.
The four are Manighar, Drunken Sailor, Sahara Sun and Bauer.
The one the yard consider the best, the 2008 Melbourne Cup runner-up Bauer, is struggling to gain a Cup start.
Bauer is currently 29th on the Cup order of entry while Sahara Sun is 24th, – the final live spot.
As the week progresses horses may withdraw from the Melbourne Cup with Bauer creeping closer to a start.
The Cumani yard is playing chicken and haven’t entered the nine-year-old Bauer in any of the last qualifying races the Lexus Stakes and Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
Cumani is happy with Sahara Sun and expects him to settle a lot closer in the Bendigo Cup than he did at his first Australian start in the Caulfield Stakes won by Descarado.
In that race Sahara Sun was tailed off and actually did a good job to finish a deceptive seventh.
“He took a little while to get used to England and now he’s had to move to Australia, but he’s in good form and looks really well,” Cumani said.
“I think he has a good chance. I like the way he is training. I like the way he looks.”
Cumani said Sahara Sun, to be ridden today by Dwayne Dunn, performed best off a genuine tempo and he hoped the horse could settle in the first five in the Bendigo Cup.
Part owner Terry Henderson said several things needed to be assessed – how Sahara Sun runs today, how he comes out of the race and if he was mentally strong enough to run 3200m.
One would expect Sahara Sun will get the Melbourne Cup chop if it enables Bauer to make the field but stay in if he gets in anyway or is too far out.
Sahara Sun isn’t the only horse to have shortened in Bendigo Cup markets.
The Lloyd Williams owned At First Sight and bolter Western Symbol have come in for support.
At First Sight, is already in the top 24 of the Melbourne Cup but his stablemate Tanby needs to win this race and gain a penalty to get a start.
Williams has reported that the Geelong Cup runner-up is well, as is At First Sight who has recovered from a virus.