Having shot up to the head of the betting market for this year’s Melbourne Cup after winning the Group One, Underwood Stakes over nine furlongs at Caulfield last month, the Murray Baker trained, Lion Tamer flopped badly last week in the Group One, Caulfield Stakes, this time over ten furlongs.
Although the betting spree that followed his Underwood Stakes victory cooled in the wake of this latest defeat, his trainer has advised punters not to look too closely at this apparent setback as it is typical for the four year old has yet to win back-to-back races in his nine race career. The stable believes that by the time the first Tuesday in November arrives he will be absolutely spot on and Baker confirmed to stunned racing journalists that Lion Tamer has a mind of his own and if he is not in the mood he will show it. He jumped off very badly and never travelled said his jockey Michael Rodd, but even he is not too dismayed and confirmed that the horse will be in blinkers next time out in the Group One Cox Plate in two weeks time.
There is no doubt that New Zealand bred Lion Tamer has the class to win a Melbourne Cup, he won the Group One Victoria Derby last year over 13 furlongs by close on seven lengths on soft ground at Flemington Park. It was a performance which immediately had the racing industry suggesting that he was a future Melbourne Cup winner and indeed has been high up in the antepost market ever since. The general feeling is that should the forecasted wet weather hit the Melbourne Carnival throughout October, then his chances will continue to improve as the ground deteriorates.
If this is the case then the current best price of 16/1 about Lion Tamer winning the “Cup” could prove huge come 1st November as could the 12/1 available on him to winning the Cox Plate next Saturday (22nd October). This latest flop will be forgotten after his run in the Cox Plate where the exciting four year old should have all the conditions to suit and be seen in a more favourable light.
Descarado, winner of the Caulfield Stakes, some eight lengths in front of Lion Tamer was a mover in the Melbourne Cup odds with the five year old’s odds shortened to 20/1 to win the “race that stops a Nation” from 40/1! Descarado’s trainer, Gai Waterhouse, has said that his runner will re-oppose Lion Tamer in the Cox Plate for which he is 14/1 to win and a decision will be taken on a Melbourne Cup tilt after that.
Many believe that Descarado has at least another big race in him. He won the 2010 Caulfield Cup in fine style before mysteriously pulling up towards the end of last year’s Melbourne Cup when with the leaders with jockey, Nash Rawiller, claiming the horse did not want to be so prominent and it would be a brave punter who overlooks this horse’s quirks.