Bookmakers reacted to Lion Tamer’s G1 Underwood Stakes victory by making him the new $9 favourite for the Melbourne Cup.
Lion Tamer (4h Storming Home – Lioness by Generous) shares top billing for the $6 million feature with English import December Draw. He’s likely to head to the G1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on October 2 for his next start.
A G1 winner of the 2010 Victoria Derby, Lion Tamer (NZ) gave the beaten division no excuses when he defeated Southern Speed (Southern Image) and Midas Touch (Galileo) by over a length running away.
“We’ve always thought he was a good horse but he missed the autumn so we wondered whether he would come back,” trainer Murray Baker explained. “We’d like to run him in the Melbourne Cup. His owner Phil Bayly is keen. He ran second with My Blue Denim in the 1980 Cup.”
The son of former Darley shuttler Storming Home was having just his second start since winning the Victoria Derby by six lengths this time last year. He ran an encouraging fourth to Mufhasa first-up in the G1 Mafki Challenge Stakes (1400m) on August 27.
“He capped his hock which put him out for the autumn,” Baker said. “We got into work at the start of May. He’s not a heavy topped horse. He’s an athlete and he’s come through it.”
The Underwood was the third leg of the NZ Bloodstock Caulfield Spring Weight-for-Age Championship. Lion Tamer joins Whobegotyou (Street Cry) and King’s Rose (Redoute’s Choice) on top of the table with 10 points.
The winner will be decided after the final leg in the G1 NZ Bloodstock Caulfield Stakes on October 8.