A Caulfield Cup start is up for grabs for Irish import Tom Melbourne if he can win the Listed $300,000 Mornington BMW Cup (2400m) at Mornington today.
The winner of the Mornington BMW Cup is exempt from the ballot for the 2016 Group 1 $3m Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield during the Spring Carnival.
Co-trainer Lee Freedman is keen to set Tom Melbourne for the Spring Carnival feature staying test and thinks the five year old still has a lot of improvement in him.
“If you can (get into the Caulfield Cup) in the autumn it’s a huge advantage, and it allows you the luxury of running in whatever you like in the spring heading towards the race,” Freedman said.
“He’s done a lot of long work, and he’s always given me the impression that the 2400m will suit him.”
“The three times he’s won at Sandown (last spring), Flemington and Albury, it takes about four or five furlongs to pull him up because he just wants to keep going.”
“I’m looking forward to Saturday, but I’m really looking forward to getting him into the paddock too, hopefully qualifying for the Caulfield Cup and having a good eight-week spell before he starts work again.’
Freedman, who trains in partnership with his brother Anthony, was impressed with Tom Melbourne’s last start win in the Listed $170,000 Commercial Club Albury Gold Cup (2000m) on March 18, but said the import still had a lot to learn after lugging in down the straight.
“It was an incredible win because really when horses do that much wrong they should get beaten, but he still won the race by three lengths, so I think it underlines his ability,” Freedman said.
“I tried a new bit of gear on him, a set of cheekers, because he tended to want to get his tongue over the bit the start before and he resented that, and he hated the really heavy going.”
“He came here a pretty inexperienced horse, he only had one run which was a win in Ireland before he came out here.”
Tom Melbourne has won four of his last five starts and is undefeated this campaign from two starts after scoring a first up win in a 1800m BenchMark 90 Handicap at Flemington on March 5.
Tom Melbourne has drawn nicely at barrier five in the fourteen horse Mornington BMW Cup field with Ben Melham taking over from Glen Boss who is riding at the first day of ‘The Championships’ at Randwick today.
Tom Melbourne is currently the $2.25 favourite for the Mornington BMW Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Pemberley at $6.50, Observational at $7.50 and Big Memory and Puccini at $9.
Mornington BMW Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.25 Tom Melbourne, $6.50 Pemberley, $7.50 Observational, $9 Puccini, Big Memory, $18 Berisha, $21 Swacadelic, Dandy Gent, Falago, $31 Lucky Lucky Lucky, $34 Tunes, Don Doremo, $51 Tuscan Fire, $61 Mujadale.