Evergreen Kiwi stayer Who Shot Thebarman will attempt to make it fourth time lucky when he lines up in the A$7 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup 3200m at Flemington on Tuesday.
Last season’s Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) winner has an enviable record in the big two-miler having placed third at his first attempt in 2014 and fifth in 2016.
At an age when most horses have lost the edge to compete at the highest level, the 10-year-old Chris Waller-trained gelding continues to delight his owners, the south Wanganui based O’Leary brothers, who are keenly looking forward to Tuesday’s contest.
“He really is a marvellous old horse and he is racing as well as ever,” Humphrey O’Leary said.
“Typical of Chris Waller, he has the old boy peaking at just the right time.
“His run for fourth in the Moonee Valley Cup at his last start was terrific and he drops another 2.5kgs from that run.
“We know he loves the two-mile journey and can go on any type of track, so we are thrilled he can have another crack at the race.”
Fresh from attending the annual Melbourne Cup mass yesterday morning, O’Leary was quick to scotch any suggestion that Tuesday’s run might be the last for the A$4.58m earner.
“We have had a talk about it but while he is going so well, we think there is a little more left in him,” he said.
“As long as he pulls up sound then the target will be the Sydney autumn carnival on his home patch.
“He will tell us when he doesn’t want to be there anymore, but he hasn’t given us any signs of that so far and it would be something special to maybe sign off in the Sydney Cup after he won it this year.”
While O’Leary is looking forward to Tuesday he is also on a high after Ladies First, the six-year-old Dylan Thomas mare he owns with wife Fiona, performed with distinction when running fifth in Saturday’s Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m).
“She went a cracker and was making up good ground over the concluding stages,” he said.
“This really was a dress rehearsal for next year as the 2019 Melbourne Cup is definitely a target for her.
“She is going to fly home now and we will set her for the Sydney Cup in the autumn.
“We talked with Allan (trainer Allan Sharrock) about the Auckland Cup in March but he thinks it might be best to concentrate on just the one main target so that will be the Sydney race.” – NZ Herald