Victoria Derby Champ Back To Tame Cox Plate

By: Ryan Clark
July 25th, 2011
Lion Tamer

Victoria Derby winner Lion Tamer will target the Cox Plate this year

The 2010 Victoria Derby champion Lion Tamer could be back on Australian shores in a little over a month with the 2011 Cox Plate the main aim of the spring.

The New Zealand horse hasn’t run since he made mince meat of his competition in winning his first Aussie Group 1 last year.

He along with stable mate Harris Tweed are back on the right track after both horses have given trainer Murray Baker a pretty hard time of it in 2011.

Harris Tweed came so close to earning Group 1 success as well in 2010 when he finished second in the Caulfield Cup.

After that he was valiant in running home fifth in the Melbourne Cup.

He too has had a lean period since then, just the one start over the Autumn before requiring surgery for a breathing problem.

Both horses will be back on track tomorrow though with a trial at home at Cambridge over 1000m.

It will only be an easy going test to blow out the cobwebs with an actual race comeback not expected until late August.

As mentioned earlier for Lion Tamer a Group 1 weight for age assignment awaits him in the Cox Plate.

He has already shown the boutique Moonee Valley circuit won’t worry him though, he ran second in the AAMI Vase there last year the start before his Derby win.

The colt is undoubtedly destined for a career at stud so an extra couple of Group 1 wins in Australia over the spring will provide a big boost for his value and potentially even wind up his racing career.

Things weren’t looking good a few months ago when Lion Tamer suffered quite a nasty injury.

“He cut his leg quite badly in a stable accident early this year. The wound was at the back of the hock and couldn’t be stitched,” Baker said.

“We had to bandage the leg heavily and keep him boxed for five weeks.

Things have progressed well though and there are no excuses for anything less than a repeat of last year’s heroics.

“The horse is perfect now and he looks fantastic,” Baker said.

“I think he is set for a very good campaign.”

At this stage there are a couple of options for his first up run, one is in Australia in a race like the Group 2 Memsie Stakes, the other is to stay at home and contest a Group 1 at Hastings.

Harris Tweed is likely to follow the same path as last year leading into the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup.

He’s also recovered well from his operation and not far off his first up run.

It was an identical operation to that of So You Think and was even performed by the same surgeon, Jonathan Lumsden.

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