Tiberian’s potential a tantalising prospect after gutsy Melbourne Cup run

PROMISE: There was plenty for part owners Mick and Stacey Whittaker to like about Tiberian's seventh placing in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup. Photo: AAP
PROMISE: There was plenty for part owners Mick and Stacey Whittaker to like about Tiberian's seventh placing in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup. Photo: AAP

After watching Tiberian run a bold seventh in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, Bathurst part-owners Mick and Stacey Whittaker can’t help but be excited over what the future might hold for the French stayer.

Tiberian hit the front at one stage, but the move came a little too early and he was unable to match victor Rekindling and runner-up Johannes Vermeer for pace in the final stages.

Still, Mick Whittaker was impressed with the effort the six-year-old – a $31 chance – produced in his Melbourne Cup debut.

“This a tough race to win, and not many people gave this horse a chance,” he said.

“Eight Australia jockeys knocked us back, they said no to riding Tiberian, so we ended up having to bring our French jockey [Olivier Peslier] out, who’s no slouch, he’s an extremely good jockey.

“But probably he lacked a little bit of experience racing in Australian conditions and racing at Flemington, he just made his move too far out.

“He got the horse into a position, but it just took too much energy to continue it on for the last 400 metres. 

“Had he not hit the lead until the 300 metre mark and not had to come across from barrier 22, it may well have been a completely different story.

“I think the most exciting thing is, that horse just didn’t give up, he just ran his heart out.

“This horse has got the goods.”

The next assignment for Tiberian is another rich race, the Hong Kong Vase which will be run at Sha Tin on December 10.

A Group One race for three-year-olds and up over 2,400 metres, it carries a purse which is equivalent to $1.9 million Australian.

As for whether or not Tiberian will return to Flemington next year remains to be seen.

He may be aimed at the prestigious Group One Prix de L’Arc Triomphe (2,400m), but Whittaker would love to see what he could do if he again contested the Melbourne Cup.

“They may decide to leave it over in France and run it in the Arc, which is obviously one of the big staying races over there and they’d be running it on his turf instead of bringing him over to our turf,” he said.

“But plenty of people here who know plenty about horses believe this horse could be a force in 12 months time. Let’s be honest, when we intitally bought the horse, the plan was to come in 2018.

“I think if he made the trip back to Australia a little bit earlier next year and had a couple of real good hit-outs before the Melbourne Cup, we could find that he could be a really, really strong contender.”