Prominent racehorse owner Lloyd Williams is right back in the race to win the 2010 Melbourne Cup after his underrated hopefuls Zipping and C’est La Guerre each won at Group level over the weekend.
His veteran nine-year-old Zipping claimed an upset win in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Sunday while six-year-old C’est La Guerre broke a two and a half year drought winning the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Danehill gelding Zipping was a $17 chance to win yesterday, but a beautiful ride by jockey Nicholas Hall saw the 2008 Turnbull Stakes third placegetter go two better and snare victory over a field full of spring stars including runner-up Shocking ($5.50) and odds-on favourite Shoot Out ($3.70) in third.
Williams has spent an estimated $20 million assembling a contingent of imported gallopers from around the globe in his bid to win the 150th Emirates Melbourne Cup on Tuesday November 2, including Alandi who recently dropped out of Cup contention after failed runs in Australia being sent back to Europe.
But it looks as if his underrated locally-bred gelding Zipping, now a dual Group 1 winner, could be his best chance to win the $6 million Melbourne Cup having shortened into $21 in the Melbourne Cup betting at Sportsbet.
Favourite to win is still Shocking now at $9 after finishing a mere neck away from Zipping in the Turnbull, his unbeaten record at Flemington dashed.
However, after Sunday’s hard-fought win the Melbourne Cup is still in the mix.
C’est La Guerre Earns 2010 Melbourne Cup Bid
Another underestimated horse owned by Williams that is also right back in Melbourne Cup contention is C’est La Guerre.
The Shinko King gelding finished third in the 2008 Melbourne Cup but had not won a race for 31 months.
The losing sequence was broken on Saturday, however, when C’est La Guerre ($8) and jockey Michael Rodd combined for a tactical one and a half length win over Peter Snowden’s Purple ($2.90) with $2.75 favourite Triple Honour a mere nose away third.
C’est La Guerre is now a $26 chance to win the 2010 Melbourne Cup at Sportsbet.
Williams plans to follow a similar preparation with C’est La Guerre as the horse was kept on in the lead-up to his 2008 Melbourne Cup campaign, keeping him away from Group 1 company and not racing him over 2000m until Cup Day.
“Ce’st La Guerre might go to a race like the Coogny as when he ran third in the Melbourne Cup, he didn’t have a run beyond 2000 metres in the lead-up and we’ll do the same this year,” Williams said.
Second declarations for the 2010 Melbourne Cup will be taken tomorrow with the betting markets sure to heat up as the list of horses vying for a spot in the 24-horse Melbourne Cup field is further shortened.
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