Marksmanship has given his new owners a great ride since they paid $120,000 for him at a Lloyd Williams dispersal sale.
And it’s not over yet.
The horse is now just a win away from a start in Australia’s richest race with his eight starts for trainer Ciaron Maher yielding three wins and placings in the Geelong Cup and Group Three Bart Cummings.
Marksmanship began his career in Europe before Williams imported him to Australia.
The stayer was then sold as part of the prominent owner’s annual dispersal sale in May.
Three straight wins followed within two months, including the Listed Banjo Paterson Series Final at Flemington, before attention turned to spring.
In his two most recent starts, he has finished second in the Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington and the Geelong Cup (2400m).
The winner of Saturday’s Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington earns a ballot exemption into Tuesday’s $6 million Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Maher said the owners had been delighted with what Marksmanship had already done in the short time they have had him.
“The international market has just gone crazy at the moment, and so to get a horse of that calibre in your backyard, they’re just ecstatic,” Maher said.
Maher believes Marksmanship has needed racing experience and noted the horse had not finished worse than second in his three Australian starts at 2400m or further.
He thinks Marksmanship has still been developing as a racehorse.
“He had a few little niggling injuries I think before we had him, but he’s only very lightly raced for a horse of his age,” he said.
The Lexus has attracted a field of 13 with all runners except More Than Sacred still chasing the Cup ballot exemption.
The Darren Weir-trained Signoff is favourite at $2.70 with Lord Van Percy $5.50 and Big Memory $6.50.
Geelong Cup winner Caravan Rolls On is at $9 while Marksmanship is an $18 chance.
Maher has Mr O’Ceirin safely in the Melbourne Cup but he is not a certain starter.
“He’s in the Cup but the connections are just deciding what they are going to do, whether they are going to pay up or not,” Maher said.
Mr O’Ceirin is at his best on soft tracks with only a few showers predicted in the lead-up to Tuesday.