Reigning Melbourne Cup winner Americain has been confirmed to return to Victoria’s famous Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November to defend their title in the 2011 Melbourne Cup.
Dynaformer six-year-old Americain made the 150th edition of the world’s richest handicap a truly international affair during last year’s Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, the American-bred, French-trained and Australian-owned galloper scoring an upset win in the $6 million Melbourne Cup.
After joining the elite list of Melbourne Cup winners, Americain travelled to Sha Tin Racecourse and ran a gallant third to Mastery in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) in December.
Sent for a well-deserved three month spell, the genuine stayer has had two runs in Europe during April both over 3116 metres where they ran sixth in each.
“He had a couple of runs because the trainer wanted to go to (Royal) Ascot,” Americain’s Australian part-owner Gerry Ryan explained.
“We always said we wanted to go back to Melbourne so they tipped him out again.”
Now connections including trainer Alain De Royer Dupre and Ryan are preparing for a second bid at the Melbourne Cup, this year’s race to be run as Flemington Race 7 on Tuesday November 1, 2011.
“He’s got two runs, a Listed race next week and then in three weeks another Group Two race over 3000 metres which he won last year,” Ryan said.
“Then he’ll go into quarantine at Newmarket and then back to Melbourne.”
The first-up run for Americain that Ryan refers to is the Listed Prix de Reux (2500m) next Tuesday.
His final run before visiting Australia will be the Group 2 Darley Prix Kergorlay (3016m) at Deuaville in August, which Americain won in a narrow finish ahead of the Luca Cumani-trained Manighar last year.
That was the subsequent Melbourne Cup champion’s final race before travelling to Australia for the Cup, Americain winning the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2406m) in their Australian debut last October.
Melbourne entrepreneur Ryan, who is financially involved in an emerging Australian-based pro cycling venture, was recently in France for the Tour de France.
After celebrating Cadel Evan’s maiden Tour de France win for Australia, Ryan called in at Alain De Royer-Dupre’s Chantilly stables to visit Americain, reporting that the horse looked in excellent form.
“He looks as good as last year, he’s got his mind back on the job,” Ryan said.
There has been growing concerns over the appearance of European-trained horses during this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival due to ongoing quarantine issues.
Racing Victoria is confident, however, that they will be given the green light by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) for their overseas quarantine protocols when they meet with officials later this week.
“We are meeting with AQIS and it’s likely we might have a resolution then,” Racing Victoria’s international consultant Leigh Jordan said.
“Certainly, everything is heading in the right direction.
“A lot of it is dealing with issues and finding solutions before going through the logistics.
“To be 100 per cent I wouldn’t like to commit to anything before Thursday’s meeting.
“But there needs to be a decision made because nominations close for the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate next week and people need confirmation.”
Melbourne Cup nominations 2011 close on Thursday September 1.
Nominations for the other major Melbourne Spring Carnival features will be taken earlier.
The 2011 Caulfield Cup nominations and Cox Plate 2011 nominations are out on Tuesday August 2.
Futures betting is already open on these ‘Big Three’ spring showdowns, current Melbourne Cup odds lead by last year’s runner-up Maluckyday ($13).
Americain occupies the next line of Melbourne Cup betting at $15.