UK Stayers Look to Make Good for 2011 Melbourne Cup

A contingent of promising European stayers will take to Great Britain’s premier racecourse this Thursday night (AEST) for the Goodwood Cup, a crucial race for horses looking to earn a spot in the Melbourne Cup 2011.

The Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3219m) has historically been an excellent guide for UK gallopers vying for a Melbourne Cup Carnival campaign in the spring, and this year’s edition will be no different according to Racing Victoria’s international talent scout Leigh Jordan.

“The Goodwood Cup has always been a fantastic race when it comes to the Melbourne Cup,” Jordan said.

Run over a very similar distance to the two-miles of the Melbourne Cup (3200m), the Goodwood Cup is one of Europe’s premier staying contests.

Last year’s Goodwood Cup winner Illustrious Blue earned a trip down under but could only manage to finish ninth to Melbourne Cup conqueror Americain.

However, the key Glorious Goodwood race did produce a Melbourne Cup placegetter in 2009 with Mourilyan.

After running second to Schiaparelli in the Goodwood Cup three years ago, the Herman Brown-trained Mourilyan continued on to finish third behind Melbourne Cup winner Shocking.

Other recent editions of the Goodwood Cup have been won by the likes of Persian Punch (2001 & 2003) who ran third in the 1998 and 2001 Melbourne Cups.

“Looking at this year’s field, there are a lot of horses there who are definite (Melbourne Cup) prospects,” Jordan said of the record 16 2011 Goodwood Cup acceptors.

Among the Goodwood Cup hopefuls that could emerge as genuine chances for the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday, November 1 are the Ed Dunlop-trained Red Cadeaux and William Haggas’ Harris Tweed.

“I spoke with the trainers of Red Cadeaux and Harris Tweed and they are both very interested in the Melbourne Cup,” Jordan confirmed.

Five-year-old Red Cadeaux shapes up as an interesting Cup contender having won the Curragh Cup last-start, the same race the great Irish-bred Vintage Crop took out before their sensational victory in the 1993 Melbourne Cup.

Another Goodwood Cup hopeful is the Luca Cumani-trained Manighar, the Linamix gelding already experienced in Australia having run in a number of last year’s major Melbourne Spring Carnival features including the Caulfield Cup where they ran fifth and the Melbourne Cup where they finished seventh.

Also among the field are Godolphin’s Ascot Gold Cup runner-up Opinion Poll, fellow Saeed bin Suroor-trained Lost In The Moment, Fox Hunt who represents five-time Goodwood Cup winning trainer Mark Johnston and the Clive Cox-trained Electrolyser who ran second to Illustrious Blue in the race 12 months ago.

Meanwhile top Sydney hoop Hugh Bowman is booked to ride the Mick Channon-trained Montaff in the race having partnered with the Montjeu gelding for their last-start second in the Northumberland Plate (3236m) in June.

Pre-nomination Melbourne Cup betting in Australia has Red Cadeaux ($21) as the shortest-priced of the European hopefuls.