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Prolific racehorse owner Lloyd Williams may have multiple horses assured of a start in the Melbourne Cup 2011 in seven days’ time, but it is one of his Cup hopes sitting outside of the top 24 in the order of entry that he rates as his best chance of success in the iconic handicap showdown, Green Moon.
Williams, who has spent literally millions of dollars sourcing and purchasing overseas imports with the specific aim of unearthing a Melbourne Cup winner, has six horses still entered for this year’s edition of the $6.2 million race that is due to run at Flemington on Tuesday November 1, 2011.
Of his six 2011 Melbourne Cup hopes, three are assured of a start in the capacity 24-horse field with Underwood Stakes third placegetter Midas Touch (4th), Linton (10th) who missed last week’s Moonee Valley Gold Cup due to injury and last-start The Bart Cummings’ winner Mourayan (12th).
Then there is At First Sight, right on the brink sitting 20th on the ballot with a chance of being pushed outside of the top 24 should horses below them in the ballot move up the order of entry before next Tuesday.
Williams’ Cup contingent also features two horses well down the ballot that need to win a race prior to Melbourne Cup Day to earn their spot in the field with Green Moon (34th) and Tanby (38th).
It is one of these two, Green Moon, which Williams believes is his best Melbourne Cup hope.
Montjeu five-year-old Green Moon has been in terrific form this spring winning the Newcastle Gold Cup in mid-September before their eye-catching second to Southern Speed in the Caulfield Cup last start.
In an eleventh-hour bid to make the Melbourne Cup field, Williams nominated Green Moon for both of the Melbourne Cup ballot exemption races at Victoria Derby Day this Saturday – the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and the $250,000 Group 3 The Lexus Stakes (2500m) – naming the later as the preferred assignment as a handicap over more distance.
“The horse with the best chance that actually has to win the Lexus to get into the race is Green Moon,” Williams said.
“Green Moon has got in with 50.5 kilos…and he has an enormous chance but he has to win the Lexus to get in.
“He’s a tough stayer, he’s got no weight, he’s beaten the handicapper but it’s 50-50.
“He’s going to be a four or five to one chance in the Lexus but he’s got to win to get in the race.”
Meanwhile Williams other Cup hope outside the top 24, Tanby, races in tomorrow’s Bendigo Cup hoping to win and earn a hefty penalty to move into contention.
Runner-up in both the Herbert Power Stakes and Geelong cup at their two most recent runs, Tanby is unlikely to make the Melbourne Cup field even with the Bendigo Cup win, however, as they will need to win by quite a margin to incur a weight penalty from Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter.
“He’d probably want to win by three or four lengths to get a kilo-and-a-half-penalty,” Williams said.
“I think that’s the only way to get him into the Cup at this stage.
“It’s pretty unlikely but if he can be a very convincing winner up there the handicapper might give him a penalty.
“He’s got 50 kilos (for the Melbourne Cup) but he’d need at least 51.5 to have any chance of getting into the Cup.”
Carpenter gave Williams some hope, however, when suggesting Tanby would be penalised for a Bendigo Cup victory.
“A penalty will depend on the horse that wins the Bendigo Cup,” Carpenter said.
“He (Tanby) has good form and would be seriously considered for a penalty.”
Tanby will meet stablemate At First Sight in the $200,000 Listed Bendigo Cup (2400m) on Wednesday, the last-start Naturalism Stakes runner-up the 58kg topweight of the field.
“He’s in particularly good order, 58 kilos is a bit of a leveller, he’s got 52.5kg in the (Melbourne) Cup,” Williams said of At First Sight.
The bookies and punters seem to agree with Green Moon the shortest-priced of their stablemates in the Melbourne Cup markets at Luxbet paying $19.
The next best fancied is then Midas Touch paying $21, followed by At First Sight ($26), Mourayan ($35), Tanby ($51) and Linton as the $101 long-shot of the lot.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au throughout the week for all the Melbourne Cup field updates as well as the best betting previews and tips for Victoria Derby Day 2011.
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