Over­seas raiders poised for Mel­bourne Cup dom­i­na­tion

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

GODOL­PHIN stay­ers Hartnell and Oceanographer head a strong in­ter­na­tional chal­lenge in the 2-mile (3200 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 A$6.2 mil­lion (US$4.7 mil­lion) prize event.

Ten in­ter­na­tional horses will con­test the 155-year-old “race that stops a na­tion”, with Caulfield Cup-win­ner Jameka the only Aus­tralian-bred en­trant.

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 fin­ishes – Cen­tral 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 con­tention, 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 front-run­ner 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 longest­serv­ing trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

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-year-old 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). –

Photo: EPA

Aus­tralian jockey Michelle Payne, rid­ing Prince of Pen­zance (left), crosses the fin­ish line to win the Mel­bourne Cup on Novem­ber 3, 2015. This year’s Cup to­tal prize money is A$6.2 mil­lion (US$4.2 mil­lion).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.