After his third in the Caulfield Cup on his Australian debut, Mirage Dancer is on target for his bid for Melbourne Cup glory.
Now trained at Cranbourne by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, the former Sir Michael Stoute-trained horse finished 1-1/4 lengths from Japanese horse Mer De Glace in the $5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19 with Vow And Declare splitting the pair.
Young says Mirage Dancer, a son of champion Frankel, has bounced through that run as he continues towards Tuesday week’s $8 million Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
“I’m absolutely stoked how he came out of the Caulfield Cup,” Young said.
“He looks great for the run.
“You’ve got to remember he was 10 weeks between runs in the Caulfield Cup and he had changed countries and changed stables twice.
“And it was probably the first time he’s raced with a bit of a crowd of horses. In England they always have smaller fields and he got a bit of a squeeze at the top of the straight and it took him a while to get rolling again because he’s such a big strider.
“He had a nice bit of three-quarter work (Saturday) and I was absolutely rapt the way he came through it.
“We’re just trying to get his coat to how we like it. It’s nearly there, there’s a bit more shine.
“Hopefully he can just carry on through to the Melbourne Cup.”
The Melbourne Cup over 3200m will be uncharted territory for Mirage Dancer who has won three times over 2412m in England.
“He’s never been over the distance and that is the question mark but the way he ran through the line and was still humming past the post in the Caulfield Cup gives you the indication that he should see it out,” Young said.
“Sometimes you just don’t know until you try with some of these horses.
“Ben Melham was super happy with how he raced and was hungry for the ride afterwards which is always a good indication.”
Melham was suspended for careless riding in a race at The Valley on Saturday but his penalty finishes before Melbourne Cup day.
Mirage Dancer, who has 55.5kg, was at $26 in Melbourne Cup betting on Sunday with Constantinople, a luckless fourth in the Caulfield Cup, the $7 favourite.