No Melbourne Cup winner has ever jumped from barrier 18 but this Tuesday the Chris Waller-trained Hawkspur will be out to break the hoodoo after drawing the horror gate for the 2013 edition of the famous Flemington feature.
The $6 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) has a field limit of 24 starters, meaning there are 24 Melbourne Cup barriers hopeful horses may jump from in Race 7 at 3:00pm (AEST) this year.
Only one Melbourne Cup barrier is yet to produce a winner, 18, and it belongs in 2013 to Waller’s smart Purrealist gelding Hawkspur.
Winner of the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) by three lengths in Brisbane during the autumn, as a four-year-old their form has also been good including their big three and a half length Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) win in Sydney during September.
Hawkspur has had their past three starts exclusively in Group 1 company, bad barriers hampering their chances in the latest two.
At the start of October they came within half a length of Happy Trails when fifth from barrier 15 of 16 in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) where they could have finished closer had they not been blocked for a run in the straight.
Last time out they were also brave from a bad barrier (14 of 18) and were able to come within two and a half lengths of Fawkner in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) when seventh despite being severely hampered in the early stages.
In the Melbourne Cup Hawkspur also has another disastrous draw as they face their last start conqueror Fawkner, along with a host of other imposing rivals, in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Melbourne Cup betting is led by the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente at a firming $7.
The Lloyd Williams-owned Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner pays $16 and is also on the move while Hawkspur is just outside of them on $17.
It’s a price that reflects Waller’s opinion, this could go either way.
“I will sit back after the race on Tuesday and say I wouldn’t have done anything different. I’m very happy with where he’s at,” Waller told the Courier Mail.
“My gut feeling is if he’s good enough, he will win the Melbourne Cup. If he’s not, he won’t. I wouldn’t do anything any other way.”
While his breeding suggests a mile to a mile and a half is the best he’ll get, Waller also knows that pedigree isn’t always indicative of a horse’s true distance abilities.
“(His pedigree) tells me he won’t get two miles. It doesn’t always work out that way,” Waller said.
“In racing we always find a positive and tend to overlook the negatives.
“If we didn’t we probably wouldn’t even be in the game.”
They haven’t got the gate but they do have promise and plenty of other pros which we take a look at below to see if they’re worth backing in the Melbourne Cup double the odds markets at a juicy $34 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
#18 Hawkspur – Horse Form
- Barrier: 18
- Jockey: Jim Cassidy
- Trainer: Chris Waller
- Owners: Mr D M Puglisi, Mr A M Muollo, Mr T Ristevski, Mr E Spoljar
- Age: 4YO
- Gender: Gelding
- Breeding: by Purrealist from Mollyhawk
- Career: 23-7-6-0
- Win: 30%
- Place: 57%
- Last 6: 71457
- Prize Money: $871,380
- Track: 1-0-0-0
- Distance: 0-0-0-0
- Current 2013 Melbourne Cup Odds: $17
Yes – Hawkspur Can Overcome his Melbourne Cup Barrier and Win
- Regular rider, Hall of Famer Jim Cassidy stays on and is on a high after his 100th Group 1 win on Zoustar in the Coolmore from Derby Day
- Cassidy is also a former Melbourne Cup winning jockey having won with Might And Power (1997)
- Their last two runs have been better than the places suggest, Hawkspur encountering interference in both, before coming home hard
- Gets in well with the weights on 53.5kg – a kilo less than they had in the Caulfield Cup and a kilo less than Fawkner (54.5kg)
- They are the right age as four-year-olds (equal with five-year-olds) boast the best record in the race with 43 wins each
- For superstitious punters – they are horse #18 in barrier 18
- Haven’t seen the distance but indications are there that they’ll like it
No – Hawkspur Won’t be the First Melbourne Cup Winner from Gate 18
- The Melbourne Cup history books say they can’t win from barrier 18, it’s been 153 years and none have done it before him so it would take a mighty effort
- Chris Waller has never won a Melbourne Cup
- Yet to step up to the 3200m so it’s unchartered territory
- Has had just the one at Flemington when unplaced (5th in the Turnbull) but only beaten 0.6 lengths
Whether you’re going with or against the bad history on barrier 18 in this year’s Cup, all the best markets on Hawkspur and the other Melbourne Cup horses are open now at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Don’t have a Ladbrokes.com.au account? It only takes a couple of minutes to join and when you do make sure you deposit to have it matched up to $500 this week as a bonus bet for Cup Day!