This year’s Melbourne Cup will feature five New Zealand horses including Daffodil, Capecover, Harris Tweed, Spin Around and Gallions Reach.
Although New Zealand has not produced a Melbourne Cup winner since Ethereal in 2001, Kevin Gray’s mare Daffodil is a strong Cup contender while Spin Around and Gallions Reach are definite longshots.
Trained by Kevin Gray and ridden by Chris Munce, this four year old is undoubtedly the best of the NZ pack and has won seven out of 21 starts including the AJC Oaks in autumn. Although she has drawn wide with barrier 21, she proved her ability to take off wide in the Caulfield Cup however this then caused her to push too hard too early.
This seven year old gelding has won 10 out of 36 starts and despite a poor racing season, his trainer Alexander Fieldes has stated that the horse has always been aimed to peak at the Melbourne Cup. Even previous jockey Kerrin McEvoy is confident about the horse, stating that he could finish in the top six. Capecover has drawn wide with barrier 19 and this will be a disadvantage to the Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner.
Running second to Roman Emperor in the AJC Australian Derby (2400m) and winning the Tulloch Stakes (2000m), this four year old has had a good record however as with Changingoftheguard, his maturity has been questioned. Harris Tweed will be ridden by Craig Newitt and will need a muddy track to perform at his best.
Ridden by Mark Du Plessis, this nine year old won the Group One Auckland Cup as a top weight. Winning 10 out of 57 starts, this racing veteran has had an unorthodox preparation however his trainer seems happy with his performance in the lead up to tomorrow.
Gallions Reach has been a much-discussed horse regarding whether or not he would run in tomorrow’s race. He is expected to be ridden by Dwayne Dunn however his form up until his fifth place in last week’s Bendigo Cup was dismal. Coming out of barrier six, this seven year old gelding is not regarded as a serious contender.