By Andy Stephens
Who said equine romance was dead? One of the most unlikely tales of the turf will be complete if Tiberian wins this year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup.
The five-year-old advanced his claims for Australia’s iconic race when winning the Group Two Grand Prix de Deauville under Olivier Peslier on Sunday and is a general 25-1 to land the $6.2 million two-mile contest on November 7.
It is fair to say his connections did not have a Melbourne Cup winner in mind when he was bred.
Indeed, the liaison between his little known sire, Tiberius Caesar, and his dam, Tomasina, was more a marriage of convenience than anything else.
Tiberius Caesar won only one of his 25 races (a Group Three contest in Germany) during a five-year career on the racetrack and was once a purchase from an £8,000 claimer. A stallion? The only thing he had going for him was that he had not been gelded.
His principal occupation had long been as a “teaser” for his more popular stablemates such as Derby winner Authorized on the stallion roster at Haras Du Logis, the French establishment which has been home to many Darley sires over the years.
The role of a teaser can be unfulfilling and, no doubt, more than a little frustrating. They merely have to help the dam get in the mood before the stallion is ushered in.__ Tiberian, left, wins in Group Two company at Deauville on Sunday__
In an attempt to maintain his libido, Tiberius Caesar, was allowed a one-off dalliance with the mare Tomasina.
The result of the union was Tiberian, who is trained by Alain Couetil and has now won six of his 17 starts. He is set to go into quarantine at Newmarket next month before his date with destiny Down Under.
For part-owner Julian Ince, manager of Haras Du Logis, it has been almost like a dream. "He is running well, and we feel he will like the conditions in Melbourne later in the year," he said.
"We are going to do it the right way. We plan to send him down to Australia on the first shipment and see what unfolds from there."
Now 17, Tiberius Caesar is listed as having a couple of other offspring - the three-year-old Yellow Storm, who won a minor event at Senonnes-Pouance in June, and Magnentius, a winner in France last year.
Tiberian featured among a total of 140 horses nominated for the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday. Should he win, you fancy his Dad may get more opportunities to show that champions can be produced in the most unlikely of circumstances.