New Zealand stayer Pentathlon has arrived in Melbourne ahead of a campaign aimed at gaining a start in the Melbourne Cup.
The John Wheeler-trained six-year-old collected his biggest cheque last year when he earned $125,000 for his ninth in the Cup.
He is likely to follow a similar path to 2016 but Wheeler will wait to see how he pulls up after his first Flemington assignment this weekend before confirming plans.
“His first race will be The Bart Cummings (2500m) this Saturday at Flemington and after that I won’t be sure until I see how everything works out,” Wheeler told NZ Racing Desk.
“Obviously the long-term goal is the Melbourne Cup 2017. He will have to win a race beforehand to get in, but what happens between now and then I don’t know.”
Wheeler was pleased with Pentathlon’s two lead-up races at the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival last month, when he finished eleventh over 1600m and fourth over 2000m, but said he would have been going to Melbourne regardless of those results.
“They were outstanding runs,” he said. “They were both on tracks that didn’t suit him and he sat three-wide all the way in his last race over 2000m and finished it off really well.
“He was always going (to Melbourne), provided I was happy with him and I am.”
Penthathlon sits 63rd on the order of entry, but Wheeler is not too worried.
“If he wins the Bart Cummings he gets in straight away and he has got the Lexus Stakes on the Saturday (before the Melbourne Cup),” Wheeler said.
“I’m happy to back him up in the Melbourne Cup after the Lexus Stakes. I did it last year and he went well in both races.”