Melbourne Cup: Chilean Triple Crown winner Panfield could be rare challenger from Hong Kong

Horse Racing Tony Millard trains Panfield aims at Melbourne Cup
Tony Millard: preparing Panfield for a tilt at the Melbourne Cup. Photo: Hong Kong Jockey Club

By Declan Schuster/Hong Kong Jockey Club

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s champion stayer and Chilean Triple Crown winner Panfield could travel to Australia to contest the Melbourne Cup later this year.

Trainer Tony Millard is investigating the logistics of a challenge on Australia’s most famous race, confident the four-year-old colt, a winner up to 1m4f, can take on the 2m test at Flemington on November 2.

“We’re just doing our due diligence at the moment – it’s very exciting and we’ve been inundated with things from Australia,” Millard said. 

“He’s progressive and I don’t think there will be a problem with the distance, his female line suggests that he shouldn’t have a problem with that.”

Panfield, a son of Lookin At Lucky, claimed Chile’s Triple Crown in 2019 with consecutive G1 triumphs, as Look Pen, and burst onto the scene under his new name in Hong Kong this year with a strong third placing in the Hong Kong Derby which he followed with a tenacious victory in May’s G1 Champions & Chater Cup.

“He’s just started his preparation, we have put him back in work now and we’ll see how we go but I think we’re going to make a call pretty soon either way in the next week or so if we are going to proceed – it’d be great if we could, it’d be nice to have a tilt at the Melbourne Cup,” Millard said.

Millard’s most successful international sortie yielded victory in the 2016 Korea Sprint with Super Jockey, who also finished second in the 2015 G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen. He also saddled Sweet Sanette to finish third in the 2011 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

New welfare measures require Spring Carnival runners to undergo a series of stringent pre-export and pre-race tests while in quarantine at Werribee in Melbourne before being allowed to run.

Millard said: “I think that everything is going to hinge on the opposition at this stage, the regulations are quite steep that we now have to go through in order to get a horse to Australia.

“It is very tough and there are a lot of hoops to jump through so we’re not sure if we can still do it within the time frame and to also have a horse that is competitive but if it can all come together then we’ll definitely go – I think he’s just one of those horses, he’s a Triple Crown winner, he’s tough and he’s still a colt too.”

He added: “We’d like to run him here earlier but we’ll see how it pans out, so for him to have a run here and then go is the rough plan but we haven’t seen the fixtures yet so all of these things have to fall into place.”

• Visit the Hong Kong Jockey Club website

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