The Melbourne Cup 2014 campaign of two of owner Lloyd Williams’s best chances in the ‘race that stops a nation’ this year will kick-off at Flemington Racecourse on the weekend.
Williams will saddle-up his 2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon as well as last year’s Caulfield Cup champion Fawkner in the highly anticipated $400,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
Both horses are in the mix for a shot at the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 4 this spring, Fawkner a $26 chance through Ladbrokes.com.au while Green Moon is a $67 outsider to become a dual Melbourne Cup champion.
Winner of the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) last October before a sixth to the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente in the Melbourne Cup, Reset gelding Fawkner was last seen running seventh over an unsuitably short distance in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in March.
He will be ridden by Nick Hall first-up on the weekend while Cox Plate winning hoop Chad Schofield resumes off a 27-meeting suspension to partner eight-year-old Montjeu stallion Green Moon.
“Green Moon is obviously a Melbourne Cup winner so he’s going to target all the staying races,” Schofield told Racing Victoria last week.
“He kicks off in the Makybe Diva Stakes.
“His program from there will depend on how he goes.”
Last seen running seventh behind It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 29, Green Moon was a disappointing 21st in the Melbourne Cup last year when unsuccessfully defending his title.
During the autumn he had three runs, the best of which was a second behind Fiorente in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m).
Schofield’s other best ride of the day meanwhile will be aboard 2014 Thousand Guineas favourite Go Indy Go, the Group 1 winning filly from Adelaide racing first-up against the boys in the $200,000 Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m).
Williams has enjoyed four previous Melbourne Cup wins with Green Moon (2014) joining Efficient (2007), What A Nuisance (1985) and Just A Dash (1981).
Last year he saddled up six in the race with the best over the line being Fawkner.
This year Fawkner and Green Moon are two of Williams’ and trainer Robert Hickmott’s 12 hopefuls in the race, the other best fancied being Sea Moon ($26) who was last seen running dead last behind Lidari in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) back in March.
The Makybe Diva Stakes field will be full of hot talent this weekend with plenty of Group 1 stars and Spring Cup hopefuls in the mix.
Peter Moody will start his upset Memsie Stakes winner Dissident who will be ridden be Ben Melham again while Chris Waller will shoot for back-to-back wins with Boban after taking it out 12 months ago with Foreteller.
Boban comes off a fifth to Dissident in the Memsie Stakes and so gets the chance to turn the tables on his last start conqueror as does last year’s Makybe Diva runner-up Puissance De Lune who comes off a Memsie sixth.
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