Mongolian Khan has delivered New Zealand trainer Murray Baker with his first Caulfield Cup win in an outstanding staying performance in the $3 million race.
Baker has had horses finish in the placings three times in the Caulfield Cup but dual Derby winner Mongolian Khan wasn’t going to be denied on Saturday.
With Opie Bosson carrying out a race plan to perfection, Mongolian Khan got rolling from the 600m and the four-year-old’s stamina took over when in counted.
Mongolian Khan, the $5 favourite, hit the front turning for home with Our Ivanhowe challenging, but he got the better of him and then had enough of a break to deny English stayer Trip To Paris ($31) who flew home to miss by a half length.
Trip To Paris’ second meant it was another near miss in a feature Australian race for English trainer Ed Dunlop.
German import Our Ivanhowe ($26) came in another 1-1/4 lengths away third.
“It’s one I’ve always wanted to win,” Baker, who has won many big races in Australia, said.
“Opie rode him perfectly. The plan was to go early and make it a stayers’ race in the straight.
“We know he can run 2400 metres and it worked out.”
Mongolian Khan, bred in Tasmania and raced by Lang Lin who is the founder and CEO of the Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry, added the Caulfield Cup to New Zealand and Australian Derby wins over the distance last season.
He went into the world’s richest 2400m handicap after strong weight-for-age form.
“You’re never confident in a race like this but he was as well as we could have him,” Baker said.
“He’d had no setbacks and had done the mileage. So we thought if he could get to the front, nothing would get past him.”
For the talented Bosson, who has battled with weight during his career and gave away riding for 18 months in the early 2000s, the victory was a highlight – and his third Australian Group One success.
“He has taken me to my biggest heights in racing and this is my biggest thrill,” Bosson said.
The Phantom finished third for Baker in 1989 while both Nom Du Jeu (2008) and Harris Tweed (2010) ran second in Caulfield Cups.
Mongolian Khan is the first New Zealand-trained Cup winner since Ethereal in 2001.
Having finished second with Red Cadeaux in three Melbourne Cups and a Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney, Dunlop’s team were narrowly denied again.
“I thought we were going to get him (Mongolian Khan) at the top of the straight and he’s got Melbourne Cup written all over him,” jockey Tommy Berry said.
Gust Of Wind came in fourth ahead of English horse Snow Sky while Japanese stayer Fame Game made good ground from the back of the field for sixth and is expected to be suited to Flemington and 3200m.