Nick Williams, son of prominent racehorse owner Lloyd Williams, has declared their European import Seville as the most likely of their spring contingent to win the Melbourne Cup 2013 going back-to-back for the family in the world’s richest handicap.
Team Williams is gearing up for another numbers-saturated assault on the season’s major staying races with an especial focus on the ‘race that stops a nation’ – the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Run as Flemington Race 7 on the first Tuesday of November the Melbourne Cup and its owners’ trophy went last year to Williams thanks to the superior staying effort of Green Moon.
They have a host of stayers heading towards the Cup again this year, the majority of which have also been nominated for the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (3200m) which is held on October 19.
Among their Spring Cups’ hopes, all prepared by Macedon Lodge’s head trainer Robert Hickmott, are the likes of Emirates Stakes runner-up Fawkner, last start Sydney Cup champ Mourayan, the reigning Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon, the highly-fancied Sea Moon and Seville.
Of their crew it is Beat Hollow five-year-old Sea Moon, yet to race down under, who is the early favourite in the futures Melbourne Cup odds.
The stallion, last seen finishing a distant eighth in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) in the mud at Longchamp last October, occupies the third line of Melbourne Cup betting at $13.
They trail only the consistent Darren Weir-trained Puissance De Lune ($8.50) and last year’s runner-up Fioretne ($11) representing Gai Waterhouse.
Williams however believes if the Melbourne Cup was run and won today it is $34 outsider Seville who would give those favourites a run for their money.
Five-year-old Galileo stallion Seville was formerly prepared in Europe by Aiden O’Brien during which time they came close to a Group 1 victory a number of times with three elite level second place finishes including in the 2011 Irish Derby.
Racing in Australia since early 2012 Seville’s best run was their fifth start on Aussie soil when they were last seen finishing half a length away second to their subsequent Melbourne Cup winning stablemate Green Moon in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) in October.
Seville suffered a virus post-Turnbull but Williams told RSN’s Racing Ahead this week they are now fighting fit and ready for their Melbourne Cup campaign.
“If someone said to me, ‘who’s your Cups’ pick right now?’, I’d say Seville,” Williams said.
“He got a viral infection in his bloodstream (after the Turnbull), it settled in one of his back legs, but he’s 100 percent over that now. He’s in perfect order.”
They are now considering first-up options for the comeback runner with options including races in both Melbourne and Sydney over the next month.
“All things being equal, he’ll kick off either at Caulfield or Flemington, on the 31st (of August) or the 7th (of September), or in Sydney on that day,” Williams said.
The races he refers to are the $350,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m), the newly upgraded $350,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) or Randwick’s $175,000 Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m).
As for the Caulfield Cup 2013 Seville is rated a $26 chance and Williams said it was also a likely lead-up option heading towards their November grand final.