After running a strong fourth in Saturday’s Cox Plate four-year-old gelding Ethiopia has firmed as one of the top local hopes for Tuesday week’s 2012 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
The Australian Derby winner showed his versatility on Saturday when he was ridden forward for the first time in his career and still managed to finish well enough to claim fourth place.
He may not have had the brilliance to win the Cox Plate but the performance has seen him skyrocket in Melbourne Cup markets and he now occupies the sixth line of betting at $15.00 in the latest Melbourne Cup market.
The only Australian-trained horse above him in the market is 2010 runner-up Maluckyday who is at $13.00.
Ethiopia was one of 46 horses to remain in Melbourne Cup contention following the latest round of acceptances this morning and trainer Pat Carey said he has pulled up well after the Cox Plate.
“He has come through the race extremely well,” Carey said.
“As long as he continues to do well this week, we’ll go to the Cup next Tuesday.”
The son of Helenus was never set for the Melbourne Cup, with the Cox Plate always the primary goal, and owner Trevor Delroy insists he will only race if he is at absolutely 100 per cent.
“It was never the main aim we didn’t enter for the Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate was always the race we targeted,” Delroy said.
Jockey Rhys McLeod has ridden Ethiopia in all but the first of his seven career starts and gave him a positive endorsement for the Melbourne Cup after the Cox Plate.
“He stuck to his guns really well but they were just a little bit too sharp for him over that trip,” McLeod said.
“If he pulls up well out of this, in ten days time, he’d be a good chance.”
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