Yesterday Flemington Racecourse hosted a bumper Melbourne Cup Preview Day and living up to its namesake produced a number of genuine 2011 Melbourne Cup chances including winner of the $200,000 Listed The Bart Cummings (2500m), the Robert Hickmott-trained Mourayan.
Owned by the infamous racing personality Lloyd Williams, Alhaarth five-year-old Mourayan on Sunday backed up from a last-start third to Lamasery in the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) in Sydney to become the 2011 The Bart Cummings winner.
Mourayan ($6.50) and jockey Hugh Bowman were able to beat home race favourite Niwot ($3.80) by a comfortable two lengths while the Frank Ritchie-trained Showcause ($31) was a further three quarters of a length back to finish off the trifecta.
Suited to the Slow (6) track conditions, Mourayan put in a top performance ahead of the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) back at Flemington on Tuesday, November 1, while other Cup-bound hopes including the Anthony Freedman-trained Above Average (sixth) and champion hurdler Black And Bent (seventh) were far from disgraced finishing around four lengths away from the winner.
2012 Melbourne Cup Odds
Futures all-in betting showing top 24 horses.
Imported from Europe by Williams in early 2010, Mourayan’s The Bart Cummings success was their break-through turf triumph in Australia from 17 attempts.
Over their career down under Mourayan’s other notable finishes included a second to Herculian Prince in last year’s the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick and finishing runner-up to the since-passed Cedarberg in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill back in April of this year.
A flawless on-speed ride from leading hoop Hugh Bowman had part-owner Nick Williams, son of Lloyd Williams, declare ‘Hughie’ as the best rider to partner Mourayan for their upcoming spring assignments including the Emirates Melbourne Cup if he was available.
“Australia’s best jockey, Hugh Bowman,” Williams said on Sunday.
“He’s seriously in-form.
Discussing where-to-next for Mourayan ahead of the Melbourne Cup, connections all but ruled out a run in the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15 and named the $250,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) on Cox Plate Day, October 22, as a more likely preparatory run.
“I think we might try him just in the Melbourne Cup and might take in the Moonee Valley Cup on the way,” Williams said.
“He’s had a few goes at Caulfield and it hasn’t proved to be his track.”
Early futures markets for the 2011 Melbourne Cup at Luxbet are lead by Sunday’s Turnbull Stakes hero December Draw who shares $9.50 co-favouritism with New Zealand’s Lion Tamer.
Mourayan can be found further down the Melbourne Cup betting markets at a quote of $31, which is equal with the Mark Johnston’s German St Leger winner Fox Hunt and the Bart Cummings-trained German import Illo who is out to emulate Americain in winning the Geelong Cup – Melbourne Cup double this spring.
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2011 The Bart Cummings Finishing Order
|1st||2||MOURAYAN(1)||Hugh Bowman||Robert Hickmott||58.0||2-40.78|
|2nd||4||NIWOT(2)||Dean Yendall||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||55.5||2.0L|
|3rd||8||SHOWCAUSE(9)||Luke Nolen||Frank Ritchie||54.0||2.8L|
|4th||10||SWOOPER(3)||Nicholas Hall||Darryl Dodson||53.5||3.2L|
|5th||11||MY SCOTSGREY(10)||Corey Brown||Shaune Ritchie||53.0||3.3L|
|6th||7||ABOVE AVERAGE(13)||Craig Williams||Anthony Freedman||54.0||3.6L|
|7th||5||BLACK AND BENT(11)||Michael Rodd||Robert Smerdon||55.0||4.1L|
|8th||3||LIGHT VISION(8)||Chris Symons||Robert Smerdon||55.5||4.2L|
|9th||9||EXCEPTIONALLY(6)||Danny Nikolic||Terry & Karina O’Sullivan||53.5||4.6L|
|10th||6||HISSING SID(4)||Dwayne Dunn||Bill & Symon Wilde||55.0||5.8L|
|11th||12||GUEST WING(7)||Luke Currie||Shane A Edwards||53.0||9.1L|
|12th||1||HARRIS TWEED(12)||Brad Rawiller||Murray Baker||60.0||11.1L|
|13th||13||ALLANTHUS(5)||Lisa Cropp||Brian Jenkins||53.0||17.1L|
|Src||14||MONTGOMERY||Peter Mertens||Colin Alderson|