Over­seas raiders poised for Mel­bourne Cup suc­cess

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Godol­phin stay­ers Hart­nell and Oceanog­ra­pher head a strong in­ter­na­tional chal­lenge in the two-mile (3,200-me­tre) Mel­bourne Cup at Flem­ing­ton to­day, with just one Aus­tralian-bred run­ner in the field.

Aus­tralia’s great­est race has been won six times by over­seas-trained horses and the num­bers and odds point to a sev­enth suc­cess in the Aus$6.2 mil­lion (US$4.7 mil­lion) event.

Ten in­ter­na­tional horses will con­test the 155-year-old ‘race that stops a na­tion’ with Caulfield Cup win­ner Jameka the only Aus­tralian-bred run­ner.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mo­hammed’s global Godol­phin em­pire is look­ing to end its near 20-year Mel­bourne Cup heart­break with five en­tries, led by Hart­nell and Oceanog­ra­pher, the first and sec­ond favourites in pre-post bet­ting. The Godol­phin sta­ble has been com­ing to the Flem­ing­ton race­course since 1998 and the clos­est it has come to vic­tory are three run­ner-up plac­ingsCen­tral Park (1999), Give The Slip (2001) and Crime Scene (2009).

Godol­phin has made 21 at­tempts to win the Mel­bourne Cup and English trainer Char­lie Ap­pleby, who has Oceanog­ra­pher and Qewy in the Cup, is con­fi­dent Sheikh Mo­hammed will fi­nally get his re­ward to­day.

“It’s a race that ev­ery owner would love to win. We want to win it, His High­ness wants to win it,” Ap­pleby said. “It’d be a huge feather in any­one’s cap.”

The Michael Bell-trained English fron­trun­ner Big Or­ange, fifth last year, is ex­pected to set a solid pace which will suit the genuine stay­ers. “There will be pace on all the way this year. If the Euro­peans are prom­i­nent early, they will not take a ‘pull’ and slow the field down. They will keep gal­lop­ing on,” said Godol­phin’s long­est-serv­ing trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

TOP OF THE POPS

The Ir­ish have strong cre­den­tials with Cool­more trainer Ai­dan O’Brien sad­dling up Bondi Beach and Wil­lie Mullins prepar­ing Ir­ish St Leger win­ner Wick­low Brave with Frankie Det­tori on board for a crack at the Cup.

O’Brien, whose im­pres­sive record of more than 250 Group I wins does not in­clude a Mel­bourne Cup, is hop­ing to repli­cate the trail­blaz­ing suc­cesses of com­pa­triot trainer Der­mot Weld with Vin­tage Crop (1993) and Me­dia Puzzle (2002). “He’s in very good form. Ai­dan’s very happy with him ... I’d be sur­prised if he doesn’t run some­where about the money,” said Aus­tralian owner Lloyd Wil­liams, who has won the Mel­bourne Cup four times.

Mullins, whose gal­loper Max Dy­na­mite was beaten by the Michelle Payne-rid­den Prince of Pen­zance in last year’s Cup, has a strong chance with Wick­low Brave. “If he can over­come his draw, and re­peat that work, he’s go­ing to give a great ac­count of him­self,” Mullins said. “Win­ning the Grand Na­tional, to me, was top of the pops. This would be right up there with it. Hav­ing come so close, you want to win it even more.”

Ja­pan, which won with Delta Blues in 2006, will be rep­re­sented by nine-yearold geld­ing Cur­ren Mirotic, trained by Osamu Hi­rata. The Mel­bourne Cup has been won six times by in­ter­na­tion­ally trained horses: 2014 (Pro­tec­tion­ist, Ger­many), 2011 (Du­naden, France), 2010 (Amer­i­cain, France), 2006 (Delta Blues, Ja­pan), 2002 (Me­dia Puzzle, Ire­land), and 1993 (Vin­tage Crop, Ire­land).

Pre-post bet­ting - 9/2 Hart­nell, 13/2 Oceanog­ra­pher, 7/1 Jameka, 17/2 Bondi Beach, 13/1 Big Or­ange, 14/1 Al­mandin, 15/1 Heart­break City, Wick­low Brave, 17/1 Ex­o­spheric, 18/1 Al­moon­qith, 22/1 Qewy, 25/1 Cur­ren Mirotic, 30/1 Grey Lion, Who Shot The­bar­man, 34/1 Grand Mar­shal, Se­cret Num­ber, 40/1 Our Ivan­howe, 50/1 Gal­lante, 60/1 Ex­cess Knowl­edge, 70/1 As­sign, Beau­ti­ful Ro­mance, 80/1 Sir John Hawk­wood, 125/1 Pen­tathlon, Rose Of Vir­ginia. —AFP

KARACHI: 19-year-old Pak­istani boxer Razia Banu (L) is de­clared the win­ner of a prac­tice ses­sion against her mother Haleema Ab­dul Aziz (R) by coach Yunus Qan­barani at the Pak Sha­heen Box­ing Club in Karachi. — AFP

KARACHI: In this pho­to­graph taken on Oc­to­ber 6, 2016, 19-year-old Pak­istani boxer Razia Banu (L) throws a punch at her mother Haleema Ab­dul Aziz dur­ing a prac­tice ses­sion at the Pak Sha­heen Box­ing Club in Karachi. —AFP

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