With the Melbourne Cup 2011 nominations to be taken by Racing Victoria this Thursday, September 1, Brian Ellison confirmed plans to send two of his European raiders to Victoria this spring for the ‘race that stops a nation’, the top British trainer looking to break his curse of bad luck down under.
Ellison-trained stablemates Moyenne Corniche and Saptapadi earned a potential shot at the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday November 1 after their performances in the York Betfred Ebor Knavesmire Handicap (2816m) earlier this month.
Selkirk six-year-old Moyenne Corniche secured their second career win from 21 starts with a win in the feature after going out as a generous 25-1 chance, while Indian Ridge five-year-old Saptapadi (15-2) finished three and a half lengths away fifth in an unlucky run.
“I’ve already said Saptapadi might have won at York using different tactics, but these things happen every day of the week and the draw (20 of 20) didn’t help him,” Ellison said.
“Moyenne Corniche obviously ran a blinder and was given a great ride by Dale (Swift).
“I thought he was overpriced and that he would run very well.”
The two stayers are now set to enter quarantine before embarking on a trip down under for the iconic Melbourne Cup, Ellison reporting the geldings had both pulled through their last run in good condition.
“Everything is fine with the pair of them,” Ellison said.
“They’ve come out of the race well and the plan is still to go to Melbourne.
“They’ll soon be going into quarantine in Newmarket and then they’ll fly out to Australia on September 22.”
Ellison also hinted that a key tactic for his Melbourne Cup assault would be to engage the services of Australian jockeys, naming the Sydney-based Kerrin McEvoy as a hoop he was hoping to talk to about taking the mount on one of his horses.
“I think Kerrin McEvoy is available so he could ride on of them in Melbourne, but we’ll see,” Ellison said.
“I think the plan would be to use Aussie riders.”
McEvoy has already taken out one ‘Loving Trophy’ saluting aboard 2000 Melbourne Cup winner Brew.
Ellison is no stranger to the Australian spring racing scene, but his luck in the land of the green and gold has been ghastly at best.
He has been represented in the Caulfield Cup previously when in 2005 his Theatrical gelding Carte Diamond finished four and a half lengths away ninth behind the Michael Moroney-trained Railings.
While the Caulfield Cup result was fair, Carte Diamond missed that year’s Melbourne Cup after a freak accident.
When working at Flemington Racecourse their saddle came undone, dislodging jockey Weichong Marwing, Carte Diamond continued to gallop and after trying to jump over a rail he impaled himself on a stake puncturing his groin and rump.
Carte Diamond lived and continued to race until their retirement in 2009, but Ellison’s was not so lucky with his 2007 Melbourne spring contender Bay Story.
The Kris S gelding had to be put down in a horrific turn of events at Flemington four years ago, the horse shattering his near-hind leg in the last 200 metres of the Lavazza Long Black (2800m), a race eventually won by Red Lord.
Melbourne Cup 2011 betting markets are already open pre-nomination stage at Australia’s leading online bookmaker Luxbet, odds lead by top mares Lights Of Heaven and Shamrocker paying $10.
Saptapadi is rated a $151 chance to win the world’s richest handicap showdown, while odds on Moyenne Corniche are being organised.
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