In form trainer Danny O’Brien is set to add to his team of Melbourne Cup runners after Miami Bound returned to winning form in the $500,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup on Saturday.
Last year’s Group 1 VRC Oaks winner had been showing mixed form before Saturday’s 2500m race at The Valley but relished the soft ground to record a comfortable win.
The win was the third leg of a Cox Plate day four-timer for Kah when she partnered Miami Bound ($26) to a widening 2-½ length win from the $4.20 favourite Shared Ambition with Oceanex ($10) a half-length away third.
Miami Bound struggled when finishing sixth in the Group 2 Herbert Power Quality (2400m) at Caulfield on October 10.
That run was on a firm track and O’Brien said getting back to conditions that suited saw the best of the mare.
“We’ve been really pleased with her but she has been running on firm tracks and probably at unsuitable distances,” O’Brien said.
“She was OK in the Herbert Power but that was on a Good 3. A Soft 7 today and she grew a leg, she was never going to get beaten.”
Miami Bound (NZ) and Jamie Kah leave the field behind, picture Racing Photos
O’Brien said the $8 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3 was now on the agenda.
“She won that impressively,” O’Brien said.
“When you’re that close it is pretty hard not to run.
“It’s more a difficult essay for those fillies that had won an Oaks to come and win a Melbourne Cup, I don’t think it’s been done for 30 or 40 years.
“I think we’ll be there on the first Tuesday and we’ll give it a crack.”
TAB shortened Miami Bound from $101 to $34 for the Melbourne Cup following the win.
O’Brien already has Vow And Declare and King Of Leogrance as Melbourne Cup contender, however he will need to find a new rider for Miami Bound with Kah committed to dual Cup placegetter Prince Of Arran.
Kah said she had learned a lot from riding Miami Bound at Caulfield.
“I didn’t want to go inside horses on her because of her last start,” Kah said.
“I was happy to bide my time, come out wide on her.
“She is flying, going super.”
Miami Bound is by Reliable Man (NZ) from the Danehill Dancer (IRE) mare Arapaho Miss and is raced by O'Brien, Mrs J O'Brien, Balmerino Racing Partnership, Mr P J Prendergast, Mr C D Mathieson, Mr J Kanga, Mrs S Kanga.
The mare has now won five of her 14 starts, with two minor placings, and $1,228,000 in prize money.
James McDonald, who rode the runner-up Shared Ambition, was happy with the Chris Waller-trained stayer saying he was not suited by Saturday’s soft conditions.
Mick Price, who prepares third-placed Oceanex in partnership with Mick Price Jnr, was delighted with the performance of the mare and like O’Brien is hoping for a wet track in the Melbourne Cup.
Oceanex is guaranteed a Melbourne Cup start after winning the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) at Flemington in May.
“Today was stand up day,” Price said
“I thought she did stand up after having to do a bit of work early and hitting the front too soon. For her to run third, beaten a short margin, was excellent.
“A soft track would be good for her and you can see the timing of it is working.
“Like I said, today was a test and I thought she passed it no problem.”