The highly-credentialled Hong Kong galloper Mighty High is still on track to run in the Melbourne Cup despite an inexplicably poor performance at Caulfield on Saturday.
Mighty High started second favourite in the Caulfield Cup and faded badly to finish 17th with only the favourite December Draw behind him.
Jockey Darren Beadman offered no explanation for the poor run, saying he was convinced the horse would win when he held the lead with 1000m to run.
Beadman said the former French galloper felt like he was having a “working gallop” so easily was he travelling at the head of the field.
By the time he crossed the line though, Mighty High was truly travelling at working gallop speed.
George Moore, who is supervising the horse’s preparation in Melbourne for his father, trainer John Moore, said Mighty High showed no sign of distress after the race and no clue to his poor performance had been revealed the following morning.
“He’s been scoped and that was clean, his joints are 100 per cent and he ate all his food and drank his water,” Moore said.
“We think he just went over the top.”
Moore said the horse’s Melbourne Cup plans remained in place and the next two weeks would be spent freshening him.
He explained that better class horses in Hong Kong tend to have only a handful of runs each season and that Mighty High’s three runs in Melbourne in four weeks may have come against him.
The Luca Cumani-trained pair Drunken Sailor, who finished seventh, and Manighar, who was fourth, both came through the race unscathed and will head to Flemington in good order.
Travelling head lad Charlie Henson said Drunken Sailor had been blocked for a run by his stablemate at Caulfield, otherwise he would have finished closer.
The other English runner, Saptapadi finished 14th with the British racing press reporting trainer Brian Ellison was unimpressed with the ride of Mark Zahra.
“It was a bad ride. He (Mark Zahra) had a good position and then lost it,” Ellison told the Press Association.
“He let the favourite in on his outside and thought that was the one he had to beat, but that ran badly and we got shuffled back with him.”
Saptapadi and his stablemate Moyenne Corniche are on the borderline of Melbourne Cup qualification.
Should he look like missing the field, Saptapadi will be entered for the Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday week.
Ellison is considering a Geelong Cup (2400m) start on Wednesday for Moyenne Corniche in a bid to ensure he qualifies.
Bauer, the Geelong Cup winner of 2008, will attempt to win the race again while the fourth member of Cumani’s Melbourne team Sahara Sun, will run in Wednesday week’s Bendigo Cup (2400m).