They may be a lightly-raced four-year-old going into the 2012 Melbourne Cup at just their eighth career start but there has been some strong claims made for Ethiopia to go the distance and win the marathon two mile feature this Tuesday.
Running as Flemington Race 7 at 3:00pm (AEST) the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) is the feature race of the year down under and one youngster out to make the ‘Loving Trophy’ their own is Pat Carey’s Helenus four-year-old Ethiopia.
They come off an eye-catching fourth in the Cox Plate and are currently rated a $21 chance in the Melbourne Cup odds, so can they improve on that again and take advantage of their nice barrier 14 draw and 53.5kg light-weight to give the favourites a run for their money in the ‘race that stops a nation’?
His ‘no-name’ jockey Rhys McLeod certainly believes so.
“Yeah, they all look pretty good. There’s probably none you’d say can’t win it but bring it on I say,” he said.
“This horse has an aerobic capacity that’s just unbelievable.
“If there’s a negative it might be that this is just his eighth start but I really think he has a good shot at it.”
As for employing the primarily provincial hoop McLeod for the big ride in the Melbourne Cup, Carey said there’s no other jockey he would want on Ethiopia for the race of their life.
“I’m very happy with the jockey and have been since day one,” Carey said.
“Rhys is an important part of what I do. He rides to instructions. There’s no second guessing. You put the fancy blokes on and you make your pre-race plans then suddenly they make an in-flight decision on their own.
“Rhys would walk over hot coals for you. That’s the sort of bloke we want.”
See below for the evidence both for and against backing Ethiopia to win the Melbourne Cup 2012.
#10 Ethiopia – Horse Form
- Barrier: 14
- Jockey: Rhys McLeod
- Trainer: Pat Carey
- Owners: Wyadup Valley Farm
- Age: 4YO
- Gender: Gelding
- Breeding: by Helenus (AUS) from Spectrum (IRE) mare Shona (AUS)
- Career: 7-1-1-2
- Win: 14.29%
- Place: 57.14%
- Last 6: 21×764
- Prize Money: $1,131,050
- Track: 1-0-0-0
- Distance: 0-0-0-0
- Current 2012 Melbourne Cup: $21
Why Ethiopia Can Win the Melbourne Cup 2012
- Is the right age as 4YO’s have the second best strike rate in the Cup behind 5YO’s with 42 wins
- Already a Group 1 winner having taken out the Australian Derby back in April
- Their slashing fourth place finish in the Cox Plate caught the eye and expect improvement as they step up in distance
- Jockey Rhys McLeod knows the horse having ridden them for six of their seven starts to date including in the Cox Plate
- Drawn well in barrier 14 which has produced three Melbourne Cup winners in the past 12 years
Why Ethiopia Won’t Win the 2012 Melbourne Cup
- Is only lightly-raced having had just seven previous starts
- Yet to race over further than 2400m – needs to make the step up to the two miles
- This time in they’ve only raced over 2000m or under
- Relative ‘no-name’ jockey in the saddle with Rhys McLeod who has ridden in five Melbourne Cups without a placing
- Has been gelded and entires (stallions) have a better record in the Cup
- Has only raced at Flemington once before when sixth to fellow Cup hopeful Green Moon in the Turnbull Stakes two back
- One for the superstitious punters – only 9 Melbourne Cup winners had a first name that started with a vowel
- Only has a 14.29% Win Rate which is one of the worst of the entire Melbourne Cup field
- Makes a much better Place bet
Whether you fancy Ethiopia for an upset Melbourne Cup win or just want to lock them into your Melbourne Cup exotics, head along to bookmaker.com.au and get a better price on all your selections this Melbourne Cup Day!