Pat Carey’s in-form four-year-old Ethiopia passed a crucial veterinary examination on Victoria Derby Day and it is all systems go for the 2012 Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
The Helenus gelding hit the big time during the autumn when they won the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) in Sydney before being turned out for a well-earned break.
They returned this spring and ran a disappointing first-up seventh to Happy Trails in the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) and then sixth to Green Moon in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) in their first looks at Moonee Valley and Flemington Racecourses respectively.
An out-and-out stayer on the rise, Ethiopia showed great improvement third-up in their four-year-old campaign when they ran an eye-catching fourth to Ocean Park in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) last start beaten just four and a half lengths.
While it would take a very special galloper to progress from there to a win in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at just their eighth career start, connections aren’t going to die wondering and have paid the final Melbourne Cup acceptance fee for Ethiopia.
After a track gallop on Saturday morning, vets went over the boom youngster and Ethiopia was passed fit to run in the Melbourne Cup 2012 field around 3:30pm (AEST).
Prior to their smashing Cox Plate effort Ethiopia was at a quote of around $30 in the Melbourne Cup betting markets but was slashed into $17.
They are now the second best fancied of the Australian-trained horses in the Melbourne Cup 2012 field behind $14 shot Maluckyday who ran second to this year’s $6 favourite Americain in the race two years ago.
Melbourne Cup 2012 final acceptances are now closed with Racing Victoria to release the official field shortly.
Ethiopia is guaranteed a start sitting sixth on the Melbourne Cup order of entry at the end of Derby Day.
To back Ethiopia or any of their 23 rivals in the world’s richest handicap next week make sure you get them at the best price by betting online with the country’s premier online bookie bookmaker.com.au who will be offering exclusive Pick Your Own Melbourne Cup Odds once the field is released.