Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Connections of reigning Melbourne Cup winner Americain haven’t yet ruled out a start in Saturday week’s Cox Plate 2011 for the French-trained galloper before they attempt to win back-to-back editions of the world’s richest handicap on the first Tuesday of November.
Prepared by Alain de Royer Dupre, the American-bred, Australian-owned stayer will use either the weight-for-age $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) or the $250,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) on October 22 as their final lead-up run for the Melbourne Cup 2011.
Last spring American travelled to Melbourne for the first time and won their down under debut in the Geelong Cup (2406m) before claiming an upset victory over Maluckyday in the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
The well-travelled champion is again preparing for a Melbourne Cup bid and could be a surprise acceptor for the Cox Plate Saturday week as part of that preparation.
“There’s a preference for the Moonee Valley Cup at this stage but it still hasn’t been decided,” Rob Rolsten, one of the staff responsible for Americain’s Australian campaign, said.
On paper the Moonee Valley Gold Cup over 2500 metres would seem a more suitable Melbourne Cup lead-up, but stable representative Stephanie Nigge said the Cox Plate distance could actually be a better fit depending on how the horse was progressing.
“The distance is not so important for him,” Nigge said.
“It depends on the horse and how he is in the next week.”
Thursday morning saw a number of major spring contenders gallop at Moonee Valley including Americain who worked well over 2000 metres at the track for the first time in 2:17.1 with Brad Rawiller in the mount.
Rawiller supported a Cox Plate start for Americain and said that with a fast pace the horse could be competitive in the feature.
“With the pace on, the Cox Plate could be a good race for him,” Rawiller said.
“He handled the track really well today, there’s no problem there.
“I’d be very happy to ride him (in the Cox Plate).”
Rawiller, however, will not get the chance to be in the saddle under race conditions with Americain this spring with their regular rider and last year’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Gerald Mosse confirmed to continue their association.
Americain’s Australian co-owner Gerry Ryan was also happy with what he saw from his horse at the Moonee Valley workout this morning.
“You’ve got to be happy with that,” Ryan said.
“He’s certainly improved from when he first arrived.
“He’s improving every day.”
Americain has been elevated to the top of the 2011 Melbourne Cup markets at Luxbet and is currently the sole $9 favourite.
Occupying the second line of Melbourne Cup betting after drifting out slightly in their price is German import Lucas Cranach at $10, who has their maiden Aussie run in this Saturday’s $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Cox Plate odds are lead by gun three-year-old Helmet ($3.40) and Kiwi raider Jimmy Choux ($3.80) while Americain, who is far from a confirmed acceptor, can be found further down the markets at a juicy double-figure price of $61.
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