Southern France a big chance for Dance
AFTER missing out on a horse that went on to win the most prestigious race in Europe this year, top trainer Ciaron Maher and successful syndicator Darren Dance believe their second pick, Southern France, is still going to be good enough to win today’s Melbourne Cup.
Maher has established himself as one of the leading trainers in the land, but his Melbourne Cup cupboard is bare.
Dance’s fluorescent yellow colours have been more prominent in the great race — and have come very close — but he too is still trying to get his hands on the most coveted trophy in racing.
Together, the pair hope to change their Melbourne Cup fortunes today.
Maher, who now trains in partnership with David Eustace, has had just two Cup runners – Mr O’Ceirin was 21st as a 200-1 pop in 2014, before Jameka disappointed to finish 15th in 2016.
Dance has finished second (with Heartbreak City in 2016), third (Jakkalberry in 2012) and fifth (Dandino in 2013) under his Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock banner.
“When Ciaron approached me back in May about finding a Cup horse, I said to him I don’t just want to buy any horse. If I can’t run top five, I don’t want to buy one,” Dance said.
“I said to Ciaron there was one other horse and if I couldn’t buy it, I wouldn’t buy anything. And that was Southern France.
“He’s got form around Stradivarius, his last run he finished ahead of Cross Counter at level weights, he beat Downdraft which won [Saturday], he’s beaten Latrobe and all those horses. He’s got the Agrade form, which is what I was looking for.”