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Lindsay Park co-trainer Tom Dabernig will be wanting Mark Zahra to employ the same tactics he used on Ventura Storm at The Valley when he contests the Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.

Mark Zahra, above, rides Ventura Storm in the 2018 Melbourne Cup at Flemington. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Mark Zahra, above, rides Ventura Storm in the 2018 Melbourne Cup at Flemington. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Zahra had Ventura Storm quickly out of the starting gates in the Group 2 $500,000 McCafe Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) at The Valley on October 27 and with the blinkers off and the winkers on, the English import settled beautifully in third spot on the fence behind the two leaders.

Zahra gave Ventura Storm the run of the race in behind the leaders and when he eased off the front runners’ heels at the 600m and challenged out wide, the Zoffany six year old had plenty in reserve and was strong to line record a half a length win.

At his previous start in the Group 1 $5m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20, Ventura Storm raced in the second half of the and was never in a challenging position.

“His European form was all on the pace,” Dabernig told Racenet.

“We thought in the Caulfield Cup, he got so far back, and it was time to put this horse further forward.

“We took the blinkers off (at The Valley) and he was missing the start a bit, which they can do in the blinkers, so we were more positive with him.

“We put him forward and he quickened well.”

“If we put him into the first six or so in the Melbourne Cup, you never know what can happen.”

“We’ve found something that worked with him, so we wouldn’t be changing it a two-mile race.”

Ventrua Storm has drawn nicely at barrier seven in the twenty-four horse Melbourne Cup field and Zahra should have no trouble finding a handy position in the long run to the first turn.

The Moonee Valley Gold Cup win was Ventura Storm’s first win from seventeen starts for the Lindsay Park Team odd David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig since having his first run for the stable at Flemington in May 2017 after arriving from Europe.

Ventura Storm is at the healthy double figure odds of $31 for the Melbourne Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au, well off the pace that has the Aidan O’Brien trained Yucatan as the easing $6.50 favourite ahead of two of the other European raiders Magic Circle at $7.50 and Cross Counter at $9.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.