This year one of Australia’s hardest working hoops Hugh Bowman will be looking to score an elusive ‘Loving Trophy’ when he partners with the Robert Hickmott-trained Mourayan in the Melbourne Cup 2012.
One of four horses still officially in contention for Tuesday week’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington for prolific racehorse owner Lloyd Williams after Monday’s second declarations, Alhaarth stallion Mourayan is assured of a start currently sitting 15th on the Melbourne Cup ballot.
The evergreen seven-year-old has been in flying form this time in but is still at a juicy price of $31 in the Melbourne Cup betting odds at bookmaker.com.au.
Never having raced in a Melbourne Cup field previously Mourayan has had three runs this spring.
They resumed when fourth to Southern Speed in the Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington before having their next two starts at Sydney’s Randwick Racecourse.
Second-up they finished just a long neck away second to Lamasery in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m), beating a nice horse in $26 Melbourne Cup chance Lights Of Heaven who ran third, before they scored just their fourth career win from 32 starts when the winner of the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) on October 6.
For their two most recent runs Bowman was in the saddle, the jockey having also ridden the former European last spring when Mourayan won The Bart Cummings before finishing second in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) on Derby Day to Glass Harmonium and then third to 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain in the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown.
Bowman has had a luckless run with the world’s richest handicap.
Three times Bowman has been secured for a Melbourne Cup runner but two of those never made it to the barriers and the third, Roman Emperor, could only manage to finish to finish 16.5 lengths away 21st to Shocking in 2009.
“I’ve been through it all,” Bowman said.
“A few years ago I was on Metal Bender (2010) and he bled in the Mackinnon.
“Mourayan was scratched the morning of the race (last year).
“I’ve had the build up a few times. I just haven’t got to the gates.”
He has worked hard to retain the Melbourne Cup ride on Mourayan this year as he has had to waste to get down from the 55kg he was at riding at Warwick Farm last week to the 53.5kg the horse is allocated for the Cup.
“I’m right on track,” he said.
“I don’t want to screw it down too early. I’m sort of within range now.
“I’ll just monitor it and screw it down after Derby Day (on Saturday).
“I rode Raceway in the autumn at 54 kilos and I was meant to ride Mourayan at 53.5 last year in the Cup but he was scratched.”
Bowman believes however that all the hard work will be worth it as Mourayan is a competitive chance in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
“He’s a genuine chance, my word he is,” Bowman said.
“He doesn’t have the class of some of the others but what he does have is a winnable weight (53.5kg), he’ll run the two miles on his ear and he ticks a few of the boxes.”
Williams, who has owned three former Melbourne Cup winners – Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985) and Efficient (2007) – agrees and is so happy with the condition of the horse that they won’t run again before Melbourne Cup Day.
“I could not be happier with Mourayan, he won’t need to race again before the Cup,” he said.
“Hugh Bowman will ride Mourayan next Tuesday and I believe they have a very good chance in the race.”
The official 2012 Melbourne Cup final field is due for release this Saturday afternoon after the Victoria Derby Day action.
If you’ve already got your Melbourne Cup Trifecta selected for 2012 now is the time to lock it in online at bookmaker.com.au before the markets come in at final acceptance stage this weekend.
Bookmaker.com.au will also be offering their exclusive Pick Your Own Melbourne Cup Odds as soon as the field is out so make sure you’re a member today!