O’Brien out to go one better in Cup
TO Aidan O’Brien, there is nothing more important than family.
When his son Joseph narrowly beat him in last year’s Melbourne Cup, there was no prouder man in the world than Aidan.
It also stoked his hunger to win the Cup and he has returned this year with three outstanding chances.
“With Aidan, family comes first,” Bester said.
“He was extremely proud of Joseph winning the Cup last year with Rekindling even though he narrowly beat his own horse, Johannes Vermeer.
“One thing is for certain though, Aidan really wants to win a Melbourne Cup. Make no mistake about that.
“It’s not a matter of if he’ll win it, it’s a matter of when he’ll win it.”
This could just be the year.
The Master of Ballydoyle saddles up current favourite Yucatan,
Caulfield Cup placegetter The Cliffsofmoher and Irish Derby runner-up Rostropovich.
James Bester, Coolmore’s Australian Racing Manager, said all three horses head into Tuesday’s race in perfect order and ready to realise O’Brien’s dream.
“Yucatan speaks for himself on his Herbert Power Stakes win with James MacDonald.”
“The Cliffsofmoher, with the world’s best jockey, Ryan Moore, on board and Rostropovich can’t be taken lightly either.
“All three are classy horses with clearly exposed Australian form on top of their European form and both will be going into the race with big chances.”
Yucatan quickly assumed Melbourne Cup favouritism with a brilliant, some might say arrogant, win in the Group 3 Herbert Power Stakes over 2400m.
The Cliffsofmoher is currently a $15 chance and is Bester’s pick of the trio, while Rostropovich is at $ 26.
“Yucatan made a huge impression with the way he won the Herbert Power,” Bester said.
“But two things that really stick out to me with The Cliffsofmoher is that on European form, he has the edge over Yucatan and he has Group 1 form here in Australia.
“The Caulfield Cup is traditionally the best lead in to the Melbourne Cup, just as Jonannes Vermeer showed last year with his Caulfield Cup placing and very nearly taking out the Melbourne Cup.
“The Cliffsofmoher really hit the line in the Caulfield Stakes behind Benbatl and then ran another great race in the Caulfield Cup.
“Yucatan has clearly travelled, settled in and been working fantastically since he arrived.
“T J Comerford, Aidan’s travelling foreman, has been delighted with the way the horse has gone about his business.
“Whether or not, he can beat The Clifssofmoher with Ryan Moore on board given their relative European form will take a smarter man than I to predict.
“I just think The Cliffsofmoher is a better chance than his odds suggests.”
Rostropovich is the youngest of the trio and is still a three-year- old in the Northern Hemisphere but is considered a four-year- old in the Southern Hemisphere.
He made his Australian debut in the Cox Plate and despite finishing nearly nine lengths behind Winx, shouldn’t be dismissed in the Melbourne Cup.
“He finished a half-length second behind Latrobe in the Irish Derby this year and drops to just 51kg in the Cup,” Bester said.
James Bester believes The Cliffsofmoher (main) is the best of Aiden O’Brien’s Melbourne Cup trio ahead of Yucatan (right top) and Rostropovich (right bottom)