O’Brien out to go one bet­ter in Cup

The Sportsman Special Issue - - Melbourne Cup 2018 - ADAM SHERRY

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)

Pic: Grant Guy

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.