With the Melbourne Cup merely weeks away, the other major Victorian Spring Carnival feature races are now upon us. There have been many developments on the weekend in regards to jockey selections and the arrival of international contenders. As the spectators begin to pick out there outfits, here is some of the latest news for the punters keen to get a heads-up on their wagers.
Champion jockey Damien Oliver has been named as the jockey to ride the Cox Plate favourite Whobegotyou next month.
Oliver, most famously remembered for his heartfelt victory in honour of his late brother upon Media Puzzle in the 2002 Melbourne Cup, was confirmed by trainer Mark Kavanagh as Whobegotyou’s rider in the $3 million feature race. The pairing has had recent success, as Oliver rode Whobegotyou to victory in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes earlier on this month.
Oliver has won the Cox Plate on two previous occasions, on Dane Ripper in 1997 and Northerly in 2001. Whobegotyou is the clear favourite in the Cox Plate betting markets sitting as low as $3.60 for a win in the famous race.
Oliver has also picked up a ride in the coveted $2.5 million Caulfield Cup this year on Cima De Triomphe.
After Oliver was not able to get down to the 51kg needed to ride favourite Vigor, light-weight Craig Williams was secured as Vigor’s jockey by trainer Danny O’Brien.
Trained by Luca Cumani, Cima De Triomphe is one of four international horses who arrived in Melbourne over the weekend to prepare for the illustrious Spring Carnival. Vigor currently sits at around $6.50 with the bookmakers for the Caulfield Cup, while Cima De Triomphe is fifth place at $12.
Cumani’s other raider is Basalico, who accompanies Godolphin stayers Kirklees and Crime Scene. Basalico is yet to qualify for the Melbourne Cup and is expected to try and earn a start in the race via the Geelong Cup.
Kirklees and Crime Scene are both nominated for all three major races, the Cox Plate as well as the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. They are now in the Sandown quarantine centre for the mandatory three weeks before contesting any spring events.
Kirklees, who has won his last three starts, is most likely to be aimed at the Caulfield Cup on October 17; hopefully following Goldolphin’s success after they won the Caulfield Cup last year with All The Good.
Crime Scene is targeted for the Melbourne Cup and is due to run in the Geelong Cup in the lead-up.
These international entries provide Luca Cumani and Godolphin with yet another, seemingly elusive, chance of Melbourne Cup victory. Cumani has trained the last two runners-up in the famous handicap event with Purple Moon in 2007 and Bauer in 2008. And the world-renowned Godolphin stables have been trying for a Cup victory for over a decade, twice producing second placegetters with Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Central Park in 1999 and Give The Slip in 2001.
All four international horses have joined Singapore star Jolie’s Shinju who arrived in august in preparation for the Cox Plate. The champion mare impressed everyone with a close third in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley at her first start in Melbourne. However, Jolie’s Shinju’s Cox Plate hopes are now in distress. She failed to place in the JRA Cup last Friday night after suffering from heart irregularities.
A second flight to Melbourne from England is due on October 10 and is expected to carry other international Melbourne Cup entries Munsef, Warringah, Changingoftheguard, Mourilyan and Profound Beauty.