Mark Kavanagh will on Saturday saddle up his leading 2011 Melbourne Cup contender December Draw at Moonee Valley, the Flemington horseman vying for his second success in the world’s richest handicap this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Kavanagh hit the big time in the Australian training ranks two years ago when the now retired Shocking won the 2009 edition of the Melbourne Cup at the scenic Flemington Racecourse.
This year Kavanagh looks to have another strong Cups candidate in his imported Medecis gelding December Draw, who can be backed at the best price this prep through Luxbet.
The five-year-old has had two starts for Kavanagh for two wins and remain unbeaten at Flemington.
As such December Draw is at the top-end of the futures betting markets for the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), the iconic showdown to run as Flemington Race 7 on Tuesday November 1.
In the latest Melbourne Cup 2011 odds, December Draw is rated a $21 chance trailing only five other gallopers.
“He’s given us a reason to be optimistic,” Kavanagh said of December Draw.
December Draw made their Australian turf debut on May 7 claiming a narrow victory over the mile in the AGL Renewable Energy Trophy at Flemington before they backed up a fortnight later with an impressive five length victory over subsequent Ipswich Cup winner Gold In Dubai in the Banjo Paterson Heat (2000m).
Turned out for a well-deserved rest after their huge last-start effort, December Draw is set to return this Saturday when they race at Moonee Valley for the first time in a $70,000 handicap over 1500 metres.
Prior to their transfer to Kavanagh, December Draw raced in Europe 16 times for three wins under the preparation of promising young British trainer William Knight.
They are owned by the well-known Richard Pegum who has a number of other spring cup hopefuls this year, most notably in the Chris Waller-trained My Kingdom Of Fife.
Leading up to the Melbourne Cup, Kavanagh also has December Draw entered for both the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15 and the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Despite their promise, Kavanagh said he wasn’t getting too ahead of himself as December Draw is yet to race at stakes level in Australia.
“It should be said he’s still not qualified for the (Melbourne) Cup,” Kavanagh said.
“It’s a fair difference from winning races at Flemington in May to doing it in November.”
Saturday’s Moonee Valley race is shaping up as the launching pad for a number of the springs top-name stayers, and was to be contested by The BMW winner Cedarberg before their untimely passing at the Valley this morning following a heart attack they suffered after a routine workout.
Other notable entries among the 37 nominations for the Moonee Valley handicap include the David Hayes-trained Laristan who was last seen running sixth in the Sydney Cup and Peter Morgan’s improving four-year-old Dusty Star.
To view the full 2011 Melbourne Cup odds and early markets, and to get the best price on all the Saturday races at Moonee Valley this weekend, head to Luxbet.
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