Top international trainer Dermot Weld is beginning to seriously weigh up his options for the 2010 Melbourne Cup on Tuesday November 2 after his top chance Profound Beauty was beaten in the Irish St Leger.
Weld, the only European trainer to win a Melbourne Cup twice taking out the Loving Trophy with Vintage Crop (1993) and Media Puzzle (2002), has three of his stable stars still on the Cup path for the 150th edition of the famous handicap feature.
Leading Weld’s contingent of Melbourne Cup hopefuls is Danehill mare Profound Beauty who finished fifth in the 2008 Melbourne Cup and was heavily backed by the punters to give Weld his third Cup win in the early betting markets at Sportsbet.
The seven-year-old has been in top form winning both the Challenge Stakes (2800m) and the Ballyroan Stakes (2400m) but was beaten by fellow Melbourne Cup contender Sans Frontieres last week in the Irish St Leger.
Following her defeat, Profound Beauty has drifted out to $19 to become the 2010 Melbourne Cup winner at Sportsbet while the odds on Sans Frontieres have shortened into $12 as star son of Galileo is now exempt from ballot for the Melbourne Cup.
Weld’s other two Melbourne Cup entries are Ascot Gold Cup winner Rite Of Passage who was scratched from the St Leger after dominating the betting markets, and $101 long-shot Majestic Concorde.
Missing the St. Leger after Weld announced he wasn’t 100% happy with the Giant’s Causeway gelding in a preparatory gallop, has also affected Rite Of Passage’s odds in the Melbourne Cup betting at Sportsbet pushing him out to $31.
Weld must enter his horses in quarantine in Ireland on September 25 if he is to travel Down Under with them for the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
One factor influencing Weld’s decision on whether to target Flemington’s $6 million Melbourne Cup is the ground conditions, with a hard ground unsuitable for his runners used to the softer tracks in Europe.
Stan Cosgrove, manager of Moyglare Stud who own Profound Beauty, expressed concerns over the track at Flemington.
“If it’s rock hard it will be pointless running her as they don’t water out there – that could be a big problem for her,” Cosgrove said.
If she makes the Melbourne Cup Field, Profound Beauty will be ridden by Weld’s stable jockey Pat Smullen as she has received 54kg in the Cup handicaps.
In other news regarding Melbourne Cup weights, Sans Frontieres copped a 2kg penalty for his St Leger win and would have to carry 57kg.