Another Melbourne Cup tilt for Vauban

Vauban, the Willie Mullins-trained classy dual-purpose horse finished out of the placings as race favourite in the Melbourne Cup last year but following his pleasing four-placed effort in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup on Thursday, connections are bidding for redemption. 

"It's a wonderful experience to have a runner here in the big race," owner Rich Ricci said of the 4000m Royal Ascot feature won for the second time by the Aidan O'Brien-trained Kyprios ($2.05).

"It's clear to everybody now he didn't stay. He came to win the race and I was getting jiggy when I was listening to the race and I heard them turn for home. He was right in the mix and I turned round to watch and his run just petered out," he added.

"That's fine and Melbourne is still the plan."

The Ascot Gold Cup field thunder past the winning post the first time round; picture Liesel King 

Vauban ($6.50) finished 13th in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) in November and could join stablemate Belloccio on an Australian trip after the six year-old gelding took out the Cooper Horse Handicap (2800m) on Tuesday.

"I would love to win the Melbourne Cup — and our friends from the Victoria Racing Club are here," Ricci said.

"We'll probably run somewhere again in the summer, then we'll be ready to rock and roll I think."