Mahler keeps Melbourne preparations on track

Mahler got his Emirates Melbourne Cup preparations back on track with a satisfactory spin on Thursday.

Mahler got his Emirates Melbourne Cup preparations back on track with a satisfactory spin on Thursday.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien had been concerned when the three-year-old sweated up badly after his work on Wednesday, but the St Leger runner-up appeared much more relaxed after a trim of his winter coat later that night.

Mahler cantered on his own at Sandown racecourse, impressing both O’Brien and Coolmore Stud spokesman James Bester.

“He went very well, Aidan was much happier with him today,” Bester said.

“The horse had been clipped yesterday, had a haircut, and he didn’t sweat up as much this morning.

“He had a bit of anxiety yesterday but today he was relaxed, settled, focused, enjoying his work and he moved along a little more freely than he did yesterday.”

Mahler travelled to Australia with stablemate Scorpion but the latter was found to lame at the weekend, ruling him out of Melbourne and ending his racing career.

Bester believes Mahler is only now just getting used to working on his own and thinks this is another reason why the horse sweated up so badly on Wednesday.

“He arrived here with his coat having turned because his body clock tells him it is winter coming,” he explained.

“He was a little hairy which doesn’t help and he was missing his working companion with whom he travelled over to his new surroundings and had worked with each morning until Scorpion went lame,” Bester said.

“Yesterday he was just a little bit tuned up I suppose, or a little anxious when he went out by himself. Sweating was caused a little bit by inner emotion and a little by his hairy coat.

“Today he actually relaxed better and all in all Aidan was very pleased with the work.”

With an inch of rain predicted to fall on Sunday and a wet track a distinct possibility, Bester said Mahler would “not want the ground any worse than dead” and “good to firm ground” would be his desired surface.

A crowd in excess of 100,000 is expected at Flemington on Tuesday, but O’Brien’s team have no fears about Mahler’s ability to handle the heady atmosphere.

“He is a young horse but I don’t think that is a concern for Aidan,” Bester added.

“The horse has travelled and raced before big crowds before and that is not a worry.

“Aidan is quite happy that the horse is in both a physical and mental state to acquit himself well on Tuesday.”

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