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Baker Delighted With Melbourne Cup Hope
Dual Derby winner Mongolian Khan will return to the stable of Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman on Tuesday to prepare for this year's Melbourne Cup, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Australian & New Zealand Derby winner spent eight weeks spelling at Marc and Sarah Devcich's Henley Park, near Cambridge, after returning home from his memorable win in the Australian Classic at Randwick in April. Baker kept a watchful eye on Mongolian Khan's progress in the spelling paddock and was thrilled with his charge as he prepares for a long, slow build-up to Australia's most famous race at Flemington on 3 November. "He looks really good. He's had just under two months out and he's as strong and good-looking as ever," Baker said. Mongolian Khan is prominent in Melbourne Cup betting markets in Australia, with the TAB currently quoting the 3YO as a $26 chance. "He was the first horse to win the New Zealand and Australian Derby the same season since Bonecrusher and some decent ones have tried in the years since," Baker said. "He was in for the battle and he pulled away at the finish. I don't want to get carried away with him, but he's a good prospect and his record tells you that." Baker believes Mongolian Khan has the right credentials to be a Melbourne Cup winner. "He's a real stayer and we saw that in the autumn," he said. "You never know if they are going to get two miles, but he's given us every indication he will and his half-brother Young Centaur won the Wellington Cup when that was a two-mile race so he's bred to get the trip." Baker plans to have Mongolian Khan ready to trial at either Te Teko or Cambridge in August ahead of a likely first-up run in the Gr2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 5, two weeks before the Gr1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield, a race the master trainer has won three times previously with The Phantom in 1990, Lion Tamer in 2011 and Dundeel in 2013. "The Underwood is a good race for stayers, over 1800m. And then from there he will go to either the Turnbull or the Caulfield Stakes and on to the Caulfield Cup," Baker said. "Derby horses generally make good weight-for-age horses. He's got the class and he's a big, strong horse. He's going to have to measure up to weight-for-age to be a chance in the Cup. The Cup is a lot stronger race than it was 10 years ago with the Europeans that are coming now." Mongolian Khan has won 7 of his 9 starts for $1,908,333 earnings.