Veteran English galloper Bauer will try to defy his age and forge a path to the Melbourne Cup when he tries for an historic second Geelong Cup win.
The pony-sized nine-year-old, trained by Luca Cumani, would be the oldest winner since the Geelong Cup became a 2400m race in 1965 and would also be the first dual winner since 1914 when the race was run over a mile (1600m).
The imposing statistics were not what travelling foreman Charlie Henson wanted to hear as Bauer, who has been plagued by injury the past three years, tries to qualify for his second Melbourne Cup.
In 2008 the grey won the Geelong Cup and was beaten nose by Viewed in the Melbourne Cup.
“In the big picture he is up against it (to make the Melbourne Cup) because he has to pass the ballot by finishing second or third at Geelong and probably has to win and get a weight penalty to secure a place,” Henson said.
He said the Geelong Cup path was not planned this year but became a necessity after Bauer failed to qualify for the Melbourne Cup when an eye-catching sixth in the Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 8.
“He is going there (to Geelong) in good form but we didn’t plan to run to him there,” Henson said.
Henson is mindful that winning the Geelong Cup a second time – three years apart – was an imposing task but he knows Bauer is a fighter.
“What hasn’t changed in the last three years, and the nine years of his life for that matter, is his massive heart,” Henson said.
“He’s knee-high to a grasshopper but always puts in his best and always tries hard.”
Bauer confirmed his fighting qualities two starts ago when he flashed home to win at Haydock in England.
“He wasn’t in a position where he was going to really figure in the finish, however he finished very strongly and won,” Henson said.
He said Bauer also ran one of the fastest sectionals in the Herbert Power Stakes which was only his fifth start since the 2008 Melbourne Cup.
Damien Oliver, who won the 2008 Geelong Cup on Bauer and rode him in the Herbert Power, will partner him again on Wednesday.
Bauer will carry 56kg, just half a kilogram more than three years ago and has drawn barrier nine in the 13-horse field.
French-trained topweight Dunaden (58kg) and New Zealander Showcause(53.5kg) are the only other runners above the 53kg limit weight.
Visiting international horses have won three Geelong Cups since 2002, and Media Puzzle (2002) and last year’s winner Americain both landed the Geelong-Melbourne Cups double.
Southern Speed’s Caulfield Cup-winning jockey Craig Williams will ride the Mikel Delzangles-trained Dunaden at Geelong.
A Group Three winner over 3082m at Longchamp in April, Dunaden has the same Geelong Cup weight that compatriot Americain won with last year.
He will be Delzangles’ first runner in Australia.
Dunaden has barrier eight and Bauer has barrier nine.
New Zealand gelding Showcause was a last-start third in the Listed Bart Cummings at Flemington and has the outside barrier.
Lloyd Williams-owned Tanby, second in the Herbert Power, opened $3.50 favourite with TAB Sportsbet ahead of Dunaden ($4.60) and Bauer ($5.50).