It is straight into a title defense in the 2011 Melbourne Cup for champion French raider Americain who was back to their best on Cox Plate Day, taking out the Moonee Valley Gold Cupin an easy win for the sensational stayer.
Twelve months ago the Alain de Royer Dupre-trained Americain travelled down under for the first time, winning the Geelong Cup in their maiden Australian run before their incredible Melbourne Cup success.
At Moonee Valley today Americain showed they were again ready for the first Tuesday of November, the Dyanformer seven-year-old blowing away their competition in the $250,000 Group 2 Drake International Cup (2500m) – formerly the Moonee Valley Gold Cup.
Easing favourite in the Luxbet markets for Cox Plate Day Race 6, Americain jumped at odds of $3.50 as they had their first run in 62 days, and their first in Australia since last year’s Melbourne Cup win.
Getting away nicely from their ideal barrier three draw, Americain steadied up well and settled just outside of the first half of the field in the Drake International.
With the likes of Lalla Rookh and Pergola setting the early pace, the more fancied runners settled well including Gai Waterhouse’s Caulfield Cup third placegetter Tullamore who was running fourth on the outside.
Americain was coasting beautifully along the rails in about fifth position, Mosse giving the favourite a patient and well-timed gallop.
As the field sweeped up to the turn Bart Cummings’ imported German galloper Illo, having their first start in Australia, moved up into second while Melbourne Cup winning jockey Gerald Mosse bought Americain away from the fence ready to pounce.
Illo briefly hit the front but Americain, who hit a little bit of a flat spot rounding the turn, quickly got into the clear and with 200 metres to go let down racing up to Tullarmore and Illo before drawing away.
On the line Americain was two and a quarter lengths clear of Tullamore with Illo, in an outstanding Australian debut, finishing off the Moonee Valley Gold Cup trifecta a further length away in third.
With 58kg Americain was weighted to win at the Valley, and even though it took some riding from Mosse to get him into the clear, the reigning Melbourne Cup hero is definitely back and ready for Round 2 in the world’s richest handicap.
Class won the Drake International Cup, Americain having a little bit of an issue with the tight-turning track at the Valley, but ready to get back to Flemington.
“We’re very happy, he showed us he’s back,” Stephanie Nigge, in charge of Americian’s Melbourne preparation, said after the victory.
“I was a bit worried about the traffic in the race because he was near the rails…but he is back.”
Americain’s Australian part-owner Jerry Ryan was over the moon with the Drake International Cup success, looking towards the Melbourne Cup now with more confidence than ever before.
“A few things went wrong (today) but what a great ride and what a special horse,” he said.
“Hopefully n 10 days’ time we can see it repeated.
“Gerald (Mosse) always said this was a good hitout just to see how he’s feeling.”
And Mosse like what he felt.
“He looks like he really enjoy Australia like me,” he said.
“I think it’s a nice preparation so we look forward to the big race coming up.”
The French-based hoop said Americain showed all the signs of being ready for the testing two-mile showdown that is the Melbourne Cup, the horse having kicked nicely over the final 200 metres today with improvement to come.
“I think today was a bit like a last gallop…I was not going to dip inside his resource.
“He give me a nice kick in the last 200 (metres).
“This race was just a preparation and I think he will improve a lot.”
Throughout the week Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter said that Americain was unlikely to receive a Melbourne Cup weight penalty if they won the Moonee Valley Gold Cup.
This will be pleasing news for Mosse.
Last year Americain carried 54.5kg to victory and this year they are already the 58kg topweight of the Melbourne Cup contenders.
“He’s carrying a lot more weight than last year so it will be a different story,” Mosse said.
Looking in peak form, after the Cox Plate Day win Americain is set to tighten in their favouritism for the 2011 Melbourne Cup.
Pre Moonee Valley Gold Cup win Americian lead the Melbourne Cup markets at a quote of $8 through Luxbet, punters unlikely to get them at this price again before Cup Day.
Tullamore was at $21 in the Melbourne Cup odds earlier, the horse still not assured of a start as they were at 35th on the order of entry.
Illo is likely to firm in from $26 to win the Melbourne Cup after today’s performance, the galloper well inside the top 24 in the order of entry.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the latest on the Melbourne Cup, and get ready to lock in your selections when markets reopen by signing up with Luxbet today. Remember to enter the promo code BONUSBET when making your first deposit this carnival to get up to $500 back as a bonus bet!
2011 Drake International Gold Cup Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 6 – 22/10/2011
|1st||1||AMERICAIN(3)||G Mosse||Alain de Royer Dupre||58.0||2-36.41|
|2nd||4||TULLAMORE(5)||Nash Rawiller||Gai Waterhouse||57.0||2.3L|
|3rd||6||ILLO(8)||Luke Nolen||Bart Cummings||56.5||3.5L|
|4th||10||ANUDJAWUN(9)||Michael Rodd||Shaun Dwyer||55.0||3.9L|
|5th||5||SHEWAN(7)||Chris Symons||Robert Smerdon||57.0||4.1L|
|6th||7||HARRIS TWEED(4)||Brad Rawiller||Murray Baker||56.0||6.9L|
|7th||8||PADDY O’REILLY(1)||Craig Williams||Robert Smerdon||56.0||7.1L|
|8th||11||SWOOPER(2)||Ben Melham||Darryl Dodson||54.0||13.1L|
|9th||9||PERGOLA(10)||James Winks||Colin & Cindy Alderson||55.0||13.6L|
|10th||13||LALLA ROOKH(6)||Clare Lindop||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||51.0||25.6L|
|Src||2||BOOMING||Dwayne Dunn||Jeff Lynds|
|Src||3||LINTON||Hugh Bowman||Robert Hickmott|
|Src||12||MONTAHLIA||Dean Yendall||Michael Kent|