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Pentathlon faces tough task in Melbourne

3 October 2017, 4:55 p.m.

The John Wheeler-trained Pentathlon has arrived in Melbourne ahead of a campaign aimed at gaining a start in the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), a race he finished ninth in last year.

He is likely to follow a similar path to what he did last year, but Wheeler will wait to see how his runner pulls up after his first Melbourne assignment this weekend before setting any plans in stone.


Melbourne Cup hopeful Pentathlon
Photo:Trish Dunell Photography

“His first race will be The Bart Cummings (2500m) this Saturday at Flemington and after that I won’t be sure until I see how everything works out,” he said.

“Obviously the long-term goal is the Melbourne Cup. He will have to win a race beforehand to get in, but what happens between now and then I don’t know.”

Wheeler was pleased with Pentathlon’s two lead-up races at the Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival last month, where he finished eleventh over 1600m and fourth over 2000m, but said he would have been going to Melbourne regardless of those results.

“They were outstanding runs,” he said. “They were both on tracks that didn’t suit him and he sat three-wide all the way in his last race over 2000m and finished it off really well.

“He was always going (to Melbourne), provided I was happy with him and I am.”

The Pentire gelding faces a tough task to make the Melbourne Cup field as he currently sits 63rd on the order of entry, but Wheeler is not too worried about that.

“If he wins the Bart Cummings he gets in straight away and he has got the Lexus Stakes on the Saturday (before the Melbourne Cup),” Wheeler said.

“I’m happy to back him up in the Melbourne Cup after the Lexus Stakes, I did it last year and he went well in both races.” – NZ Racing Desk