Strong European Contingent Set for Melbourne Cup
2011 Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden is unlikely to get a chance to defend the cup with connections choosing to set the horse for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, run on October 7 in Paris.
However it is likely the Melbourne Cup field, as in recent years, will still have a very strong European flavor with a number of promising stayers being aimed at the race.
The current favorite is the lightly raced British horse Gatewood. Gatewood had an injury plagued 3-year-old season but has returned to the races this year in terrific form. His win at Royal Ascot in the Wolferton Handicap was particularly impressive showing great acceleration to hit the lead in the final furlong. This acceleration is what makes this horse such a strong candidate for the Melbourne Cup which in the last decade has been dominated by horses with a strong turn of speed rather than dour stayers.
Gatewood will be trained, while in Australia, by leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller. The horse is not yet qualified for the Melbourne Cup and will require a win in a listed race or higher to secure a spot in the field. He will have an opportunity to do this in the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood to be run next week.
Bet on Gatewood in the Glorious Stakes at Bet365 where you will always find the best odds.
The Luca Cumani trained Mount Athos has been heavily backed in betting the last few days. Cumani knows what it takes to train a horse for the Melbourne Cup with his horses Purple Moon and Bauer running second in back to back cups in 2007 and 2008. Mount Athos is undefeated in two starts since joining the Cumani stable and like Gatewood appears to have the acceleration needed for a Melbourne Cup horse. Mount Athos is likely to be lightly weighted for the cup with Racing Victoria senior handicapper Neil Jennings stating the horse was unlikely to receive much over 8 stone.
Voila Ici made headlines a fortnight ago when he travelled back to Australia with the great Black Caviar. The horse has shown consistent form in group races in Italy but it is safe to say the Melbourne Cup is a significant step up in class. This is reflected in the market with the stayer at a reasonably long quote of 51/1 at Bet365 . Interestingly, the Italian is at much shorter odds in Australia with some Australian bookmakers listing him at 34/1. This may be due to the fact the horse, while in Australia, will be trained by Peter Moody, the trainer of Black Caviar.
Red Cadeaux, second place in last year’s Melbourne Cup, will be back for another tilt at the cup. Red Cadeaux will be looking to become the first horse since Empire Rose in 1988 to win the Melbourne Cup after coming second the previous year. The gelding has run at least a place in each subsequent start and appears well set for a spring campaign in Australia. The only query is the weight he will be asked to carry which will surely be more than the 8 stone 6 ounces he carried last year.
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