Jeremy Noseda’s Galileo four year old Sans Frontieres has firmly entrenched himself in 2010 Melbourne Cup betting after his stunning victory in the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2800m) at The Curragh overnight.
Run at a slow tempo on testing ground, Sans Frontieres looked under pressure well back in the field around the home turn but showed an amazing turn of foot to defeat Profound Beauty by three quarters of a length with Flying Cross in third.
While the time was abysmal, the winner showed that he has the ability to sprint off a slow pace, something which is vital in a Melbourne Cup where the tempo often fluctuates.
Furthermore, he is lengths better on much faster ground, according to Noseda.
It must be said that his victory was more in the style of 1993-94 St Leger winner Vintage Crop or 2001-02-03-04 winner Vinnie Roe, than of 2008 winner Septimus.
While Septimus won by 13 lengths, he did it from the front and ground away to defeat a maiden winner in New Zealand.
The form was shown to be terrible when Septimus ran 18th to Viewed in the 2008 Melbourne Cup.
Both Vintage Crop and Vinnie Roe came from back in the field and showed a good turn of foot to win.
Vintage Crop won the 1993 Melbourne Cup and was third in 1995, while Vinnie Roe ran fourth in 2002 and second in 2004.
Both Sans Frontieres and Profound Beauty are expected to head to Melbourne now, with the Melbourne Cup a possible swansong for the latter before she heads to the breeding barn.
TAB Sportsbet have wound Sans Frontieres into the second line of betting at $13, while Profound Beauty is now on the third line of betting at $16.
It is the opinion of this writer that Sans Frontieres must be considered as the top international hope for the 150th Melbourne Cup.
He seems to fit into the mould of the European horses that have run well here in the past.
With a couple of exceptions (Persian Punch is a notable one), the European horses that have run here have tended to have form between 2400m and 3000m.
In recent times especially, they have been lightly raced horses who have shown a turn of foot in their races in Europe.
In any case, it is possible that the 2010 Melbourne Cup may feature the Irish St Leger quinella (Sans Frontieres, Profound Beauty), the Ascot Gold Cup winner (Rite of Passage), the Goodwood Cup winner (Illustrious Blue), the Prix Kergorlay quinella (Americain, Manighar) and the Champions and Chater Cup winner (Mr Medici).
That doesn’t include the imports now with local trainers, which includes the 2009 Irish St Leger winner Alandi, 2009 Irish Derby placegetter Mourayan, 2009 Canadian International third Buccellati, 2008 Epsom Derby fourth Doctor Fremantle and multiple American Group 1 placegetter Black Mamba.
When you add the local horses, including a Melbourne Cup winner (Shocking), a Cox Plate winner (So You Think), a Caulfield Cup winner (Master O’Reilly), two VRC Derby winners (Monaco Consul, Rebel Raider), an AJC Derby winner (Shoot Out), an AJC Oaks winner (Once Were Wild), a VRC Oaks winner (Faint Perfume), two Sydney Cup winners (No Wine No Song, Jessicabeel), two Rosehill Guineas winners (Metal Bender, Zabrasive), an Australian Cup winner (Zipping) and many more up and comers, it demonstrates the amazing depth which is being focused towards this year’s 150th Melbourne Cup.
Here’s hoping the field stands up, because it is currently looking like it may be one of the best in modern times!
Written by Andrew Hawkins