The Chris Waller trained Grand Marshal and Who Shot Thebarman can enhance their chances for the Melbourne Cup with a good performances in the Group 2 $300,000 Antler Luggage Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Waller is happy with the progression of both stayers as they head towards the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1 and expects them to race well under favourable race conditions.
“Grand Marshal is going well as is the stablemate Who Shot Thebarman,” Waller said.
“It is the right distance and the conditions of the race suits, set weights and penalties.”
“They are both highly rated horses so they get their chance and most importantly they get to prove themselves to be running in the big race on the first Tuesday in November, being the Melbourne Cup.”
Who Shot Thebarman will be having his first look at Moonee Valley and has drawn barrier nine in the ten horse Moonee Valley Gold Cup field with Hugh Bowman in the saddle and a good performance will see the eight year old line up in the Melbourne Cup for the third time.
Who Shot Thebarman finished a courageous third to Protectionist in the 2014 Melbourne Cup while last year he was only beaten four lengths when eleventh to Prince Of Penzance before going onto record his last win, a runaway victory in the Group 2 $300,000 Quayclean Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown.
The former Kiwi trained stayer heads to Moonee Valley on the back of a second to Hartnell in the Group 2 $200,000 Ascend Sales Trophies Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on September 17 followed by a seventh to Sir John Hawkwood in the Group 1 $750,000 McGrath Estate Agents Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick a fortnight later.
Grand Marshal will also be having his first run at Moonee Valley and if all goes well will be lining up for the second time in the Melbourne Cup after finishing twenty-first to Prince Of Penzance last year.
Grand Marshal has followed a similar Spring Carnival program as Who Shot Thebarman and heads to Melbourne after running ninth in the Metropolitan.
Ben Melham takes the ride on Grand Marshal who will jump from gate six.
Who Shot Thebarman is well fancied in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup market order and is on the third line of betting at $4.60 with Ladbrokes.com.au while Grand Marshal is at the good odds of $19.
The Robert Hichmott trained Gallante heads the betting at $3.70 just ahead of the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Excess Knowledge at $3.90 with the English stayer Second Wave also in contention at $5.
Early Melbourne Cup betting has both stayers at long odds with Who Shot Thebarman at $41 and Grand Marshal at slightly longer pods of $61.
Moonee Valley Gold Cup market order at Ladborkes.com.au: $3.70 Gallante, $3.90 Excess Knowledge, $4.60 Who Shot Thebarman, $5 Second Wave, $12 Master Zephyr, $17 Authoritarian, $19 Grand Marshal, $26 The Bandit, Pentathlon, $101 White Dollar Sign.