Melbourne Cup flavour comes to Canberra

It's rare for a horse to have raced in three Melbourne Cups. It's even rarer for that horse to then run in the Canberra Cup as well.

Bondi Beach will bring a taste of the race that stops a nation to Thoroughbred Park on Canberra's Super Sunday.

Three-time Melbourne Cup runner Bondi Beach will take on the Canberra Cup.

Three-time Melbourne Cup runner Bondi Beach will take on the Canberra Cup.

The seven-year-old ran in the 2015-17 Melbourne Cups, with 13th his best finish.

He was one of the many Lloyd Williams hopes to target the first Tuesday in November over the years and was trained by renowned Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien.

But the son of Galileo was bought by Warwick Farm trainer Richard Litt in November having spent a lot of time in the paddock.

In fact, the 80th running of the listed Canberra Cup (2000 metres) will be Bondi Beach's first race in 488 days, when he finished second last in the 2017 Melbourne Cup.

Litt was excited to have such a quality horse in his stable.

"Don't worry, it's a good field on Sunday. There's not many horses in Australia that's run in three Melbourne Cups," he said.

"I'd say him and Who Shot Thebarman, who's retired now. It's very interesting. He's a lovely old horse, he's very lightly raced and we're very, very, very looking forward to stepping him out."

The Sydney-based trainer was unsure why Bondi Beach had spent so much time in the paddock, but it had been a massive undertaking to get him fit to race again.

It means, while Litt was confident he would run a nice race, there wasn't much expectation on his stayer.

He felt it might be more realistic for his gelding to start showing some form for his third run back.

"He's first up after a very long time on Sunday so we're not expecting too much, but we're expecting him to have a really nice prep this prep," Litt said.

"But his first run around in the Canberra Cup is just going to be not so much a trial but his first run and his first day out for a long time.

"Even though we think he'll run a nice race we'll just be happy for whatever he does."

If all goes well, Bondi Beach could return to the Melbourne Cup's 3200m distance this autumn.

Litt has the group 1 Sydney Cup - at Randwick on April 13 - as a possible goal.

While a long way off, having had such a long time off, Litt wouldn't rule out a tilt at a fourth Melbourne Cup if he could keep him fit.

"My main aim would be to sort of try and get him to a Sydney Cup maybe," Litt said.

"But no great plans. We'll take every day as it comes. No pressure, but we have him nommed for a Sydney Cup and it would be lovely if we can get there.

"If not there's a nice Brisbane carnival around the corner, the Brisbane Cup and those sort of races are fantastic."

Not surprisingly, Bondi Beach was a $61 long shot in the Canberra Cup.

The James Cummings-trained Morton's Fork is the $3 favourite, with Bjorn Baker's Samadoubt ($5.50) and the Snowden's Emperor's Way ($6.50) the only others paying less than $10.

Emperor's Way was also nominated for the Randwick City Stakes (2000m) and could opt to stay in Sydney for  Saturday's races instead.


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