Reigning Melbourne Cup winner Americain will take their next-step towards defending their title in the world’s richest handicap this Saturday when the French-trained star lines up on Cox Plate Day in the race formerly known as the Moonee Valley Gold Cup, the 2011 Drake International Cup.
Programmed as Moonee Valley Race 6 and due to jump at 4:00pm (AEDST) on Saturday, the $250,000 Group 2 Drake International Cup (2500m) has attracted a final field of 13 gallopers with the Alain de Royer Dupre-trained Americain the top-rated entry.
Resuming after a two month break and racing in Australia for the first time since their Melbourne Cup victory last spring, seven-year-old Dynaformer stallion Americain came up trumps with barrier three of 13 for Saturday’s clash.
Despite being well beaten at their last trip out when 10th to fellow Melbourne Cup-bound international Jukebox Jury in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3016m) on August 21 at Deauville in France, Americain is expected to be back to their best when they line-up as the Moonee Valley Gold Cup favourite.
“We know his form is not the same as last year,” Stephanie Nigge, in charge of Americain’s Australian preparation, said.
“But he’s improved a lot since he went to Moonee Valley (for a gallop) last week.”
In the current Drake International Cup odds at Luxbet Americain, who reunites with his Melbourne Cup winning jockey Gerald Mosse for the 12th time in a row, is the $3.50 top elect.
Americain also sits at the top of the odds for the 2011 Melbourne Cup as the sole hopeful under double-figures paying $8.50 through Luxbet to go back-to-back in the famous two-mile Flemington feature on the first Tuesday of November.
Following Americain closely in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup markets at Luxbet is Gai Waterhouse’s Caulfield Cup third placegetter Tullamore at a quote of $3.70.
Also drawn favourably in barrier six, Savabeel five-year-old Tullamore put in an excellent Melbourne Cup trial when coming from a wide gate to finish third behind Southern Speed and Green Moon in the Caulfield Cup last Saturday and are out to further stake their claims this weekend.
Melbourne Cup markets have Tullamore at a juicy price of $26, which is set to firm should they put in a good run against Americain on Saturday.
There are three other Drake International Cup contenders at single-figure odds in the markets:
- #5 Shewan ($5 Luxbet) – Has drawn awkwardly in barrier 10, but comes off great form in Melbourne including their gritty win in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 8
- #3 Linton ($6.50 Luxbet) – Good gate five draw for Robert Hickmott’s out-of-sorts five-year-old, promising last spring until their 21st finish in the Melbourne Cup and was also in good form last season running two elite level placings but have failed to finish better than sixth in their three spring starts this year, back up to 2500 metres brings them into contention
- #6 Illo ($9.50 Luxbet) – Considered the Cups King Bart Cummings’ best chance of securing an unprecedented 13th Melbourne Cup victory, German import Illo races in Australia for the first time here
View the full Drake International / Moonee Valley Gold Cup field, barriers, jockeys and weights below.
Betting on the race is now open at Luxbet, so make sure you are ready to back your favourites at the best prices by signing up with Luxbet today and as a new depositing customer you are eligible for a $500 bonus bet simply by quoting the promo code BONUSBET.
2011 Drake International Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||113X66X10X||AMERICAIN (USA)||Alain de Royer Dupre||Gerald Mosse||3||58kg||117|
|2||10112X0505||BOOMING (NZ)||Jeff Lynds||Dwayne Dunn||7||58kg||105|
|3||0X9923X760||LINTON||Robert Hickmott||Hugh Bowman||5||57kg||108|
|4||11421X8383||TULLAMORE (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||6||57kg||104|
|5||33313X1621||SHEWAN||Robert Smerdon||Chris Symons||10||57kg||101|
|6||3262X1421X||ILLO (GER)||Bart Cummings||Luke Nolen||11||56.5kg||106|
|7||8125X8X000||HARRIS TWEED (NZ)||Murray Baker||Brad Rawiller||4||56kg||108|
|8||X83411X992||PADDY O’REILLY (NZ)||Robert Smerdon||Craig Williams||1||56kg||99|
|9||7465110X60||PERGOLA (NZ)||Colin & Cindy Alderson||James Winks||13||55kg||87|
|10||2322X00445||ANUDJAWUN (NZ)||Shaun Dwyer||Michael Rodd||12||55kg||89|
|12||6X66212X00||MONTAHLIA (NZ)||Michael Kent||–||9||54kg||89|
|13||0223X82131||LALLA ROOKH||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Ms Clare Lindop||8||51kg||89|