Gai Waterhouse is considered Sydney’s leading lady of racing and after securing her maiden ‘Loving Trophy’ last spring with Fiorente, this year she’s back with three chances in the Melbourne Cup 2014 field.
Nominations for the world’s richest handicap, held at Flemington on Tuesday November 4, were released by Racing Victoria on Tuesday with 148 stayers entered for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Among those are three from the defending Melbourne Cup winning trainer Waterhouse, including the pre-post favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au The Offer.
Waterhouse’s Tulloch Lodge stables have also entered the imported duo of Greatwood and Bonfire who ran one-two in the Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) at Rosehill last Saturday.
Four length winner of the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) last time out in April, Montjeu gelding The Offer leads current Melbourne Cup betting at $13.
Waterhouse saddled-up the successful favourite Fiorente (6/1) who saluted for the punters, the first Melbourne Cup favourite to win since Makybe Diva (7/2) for her third back in 2005.
The six-year-old resumes racing this Saturday in Melbourne’s $250,000 Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) and according to Waterhouse is out to win first-up.
The weight-for-age race at Moonee Valley has proven an excellent guide to the Melbourne Cup over the years including with Makybe Diva who ran second in the Dato twice (2004-2005) on her way to her two last Melbourne Cup victories.
Green Moon (2012) also ran second in the Dato before scoring a Melbourne Cup victory for Robert Hickmott and owner Lloyd Williams who have 12 nominations for the ‘race that stops a nation’ this year.
Greatwood and Bonfire meanwhile may be doing everything right early having each run top three in both of their runs down under this month, but they are both at a roughie price of $51 in the post-nomination Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.
Below we take a closer look at Gai Waterhouse’s Melbourne Cup 2014 trio to see if she’s a genuine chance of going back-to-back in the classic.
The Offer (IRE)
6yo Bay Gelding
D.O.B: 07 May 2009
By Montjeu (IRE) from Valdara (GB)
Min/Max Dist. Wins: 2200/3200
Current Melbourne Cup Odds: $13 favourite
Leading Melbourne Cup betting since an easy four length romp over the two miles in the Sydney Cup at Randwick to finish off a stellar autumn that also included wins on Heavy (9) tracks in both the Group 3 Manion Cup (2400m) and Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m). Proven at the distance, dour stayer with plenty of upside. Handles all track conditions but thrives in the mud boasting outstanding form on Heavy-rated tracks (5-4-1-0). Yet to race in Melbourne but that changes in the Dato so watch for how he handles the other way of going in the lead-up.
5yo Bay Gelding
D.O.B: 01 March 2010
By Manduro (GER) from Gaze (GB)
Min/Max Dist. Wins: 1600/1800
Current Melbourne Cup Odds: $51
Imported gelding formerly prepared by Luca Cumani in Britain. Has been in Australia since the winter and is loving it in Sydney so far. Two good trials early lead up to a Rosehill debut on August 16 when third to the promising Entirely Platinum over 1400m. Returned to the track a fortnight later for the Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m), run on a Heavy (9), and thrived to beat home stablemate Bonfire and Chris Waller’s French import He’s Your Man by nearly two lengths. How good that form is will be made clearer over the coming weeks but Waterhouse has this one entered for everything from the Cox Plate to The Metropolitan. In Europe had two Group 2 starts but were well beaten in both so not sure exactly how good they are. Looked better when tested over 2816m in a black-type at Ascot last October when staying on well so could be looking for more distance which Waterhouse will give him.
6yo Bay Gelding
D.O.B: 24 February 2009
By Manduro (GER) from Night Frolic (GB)
Min/Max Dist. Wins: 1600/2100
Current Melbourne Cup Odds: $51
Another Manduro gelding from Europe, previous prepared by Andrew Balding, has been tested against better than Greatwood back there including a Group 1 run in France over the mile at just his second start when third to French Fifteen in the 2011 Criterium International. Also had runs, although well beaten, in the Epsom Derby and Coral-Eclipse two years ago. Dropped back in class after those failed efforts when sixth in both and finishing closer. Hasn’t won since the Group 2 Dante Stakes (2092) at York in May of 2012 but was far from disgraced in both his runs down under. First-up finished under half a length off Hoylonny over 1800m at Rosehill before a Premier’s Cup second. Expect improvement but not sure if he’ll make a genuine two miler.
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