The Melbourne Cup was not Glass Harmonium’s major target this spring but neither was it an afterthought.
Trainer Mike Moroney is excited about the former English horse’s prospects with the only question mark being the 3200 metres of Tuesday’s race.
The Cox Plate was the race Glass Harmonium was being aimed at but barrier problems meant his race was over before it began.
A comprehensive win in Saturday’s Group One Mackinnon Stakes convinced Moroney and the horse’s owners to take the extra step to the Melbourne Cup.
“We made each payment but we really never had the race in our sights,” Moroney said.
“But once the Cox Plate went to custard it was back on the radar as long as he performed well in the Mackinnon.
“I’m 50-50 over whether he can stay or not. I think he may be too brilliant but he’s such a good horse he deserves his chance.
“If he stays, he wins the race and his best chance is this year before weight gets him.
“He’s well-weighted this time, he’s probably the best weighted horse in the race.”
Glass Harmonium carries 54kg, 5.5kg under weight-for-age, with his longest test so far the 2400 metres of the Brisbane Cup where finished second to Melbourne Cup rival Tullamore.
Lisa Cropp will be back aboard in the Cup after losing the ride following Glass Harmonium’s fourth in the Underwood Stakes.
Kerrin McEvoy rode him at his next start with Damien Oliver aboard for the Cox Plate and the Mackinnon.
Oliver’s commitment to the Luca Cumani-trained Manighar meant connections had to look elsewhere when the decision was made to run on Tuesday.
“The owners were always keen to have a big name rider on the horse and Damien was the choice,” Moroney said,.
“Lisa knows the horse so I am very happy to have her there now that he is not available,” Moroney said.
Some trainers would rue barrier 23 of 24 but not Moroney who said it was the ideal gate for the free-rolling Glass Harmonium.
“He was always probably going to lead and the barrier makes sure we do,” he said.
“He is tough, he loves the Flemington track, he just has to run the 3200 metres.”
Moroney, who won the Cup in 2000 with Brew, said Glass Harmonium was a totally different type.
“They are chalk and cheese. This horse has a really high cruising speed while Brew was more of a typical stayer,” he said.
“He is a lovely horse, he would lick you rather than bite you and is a joy to have around the stable.
“I’m hoping he can do the job but it’s just great that he has won a Group One in Australia and showed how good he is.”
Glass Harmonium was at $35 with TAB Sportsbet on Monday with Americain an easing $4.60 favourite to defend his title with money coming for Niwot ($11), who earned his way into the race as the winner of Saturday’s Lexus Stakes.