Lunar Flare did so in last year’s Moonee Valley Cup, which she won, and proved she could be a worthy horse to be chosen for this year’s Melbourne Cup.
“We continued to raise the bar with her. Once she won the Moonee Valley Cup, we were able to give her a good spell through the summer and early fall and then gently raise her for this spring,” Begg said.
He had watched the masters closely and knew that Bart Cummings used to bring horses back for a race in the winter, then he would back off again, repeating them in light work before resuming preparation until that first Tuesday in november.
Lunar Flare ran well in the Winter Championship Finals in July, then was not seen until late August in the Heatherlie Stakes, followed by the Naturalism Stakes.
She was already comfortably in the Melbourne Cup field but avoided any drama when she became exempt from the ballot with victory in the Bart Cummings Stakes.
She finished second in the Moonee Valley Cup, working well on her way back to follow the exact path Prince Of Penzance took before winning the 2015 Melbourne Cup. Prince Of Penzance won the 2014 Moonee Valley Cup before finishing second of the race in 2015.
“[She’s] only reaching where it should be now in terms of its maturity. That’s what she was bred to do,” Begg said.
There is no doubt that she will present well. Begg is known for being meticulous in everything he does; even his car is immaculate, not to mention his stables and the horses he takes to the track. He says “the storefront needs to be tidy”, admitting he likes things out of place.
Lunar Flare will be in the right place when she stands in the barrier at the top of the Flemington straight with jockey Michael Dee aboard wearing the colors Taj Rossi made famous and hoping for some pace in the race, so that she can relax.
When she jumps, she will make a dream come true by giving Begg her first runner in Australia’s most famous race.
“You always dream about it, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen,” Begg said.
“You have to have the right horse and you have to have the right timing. There are a lot of things that go into the equation. We may not have the best horse in the race, but we believe that if she continues to progress, she will be fit and healthy that day.
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