Dual Melbourne Cup winning horseman Dermot K Weld will be without a hope in the 2014 edition of the ‘race that stops a nation’ following the surprise withdrawal of two high profile international hopes.
On Sunday night a number of overseas-trained stayers nominated for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) failed to fire in the Irish St Leger and have subsequently been ruled out of the Flemington feature on the first Tuesday of November.
One of those was Weld’s Singspiel mare Pale Mimosa who ran a distant 10th beaten 10.5 lengths by runaway winner Brown Panther, eighth to Fiorente in last year’s Melbourne Cup but not nominated for another shot this spring.
The other Melbourne Cup nominated St Leger failures were the Godolphin-owned Willing Foe (4th) and the Johnny Murtagh-trained Royal Diamond (6th).
Irishman Weld was the first trainer of a non-Australian or New Zealand Melbourne Cup winner back in 1993 with Vintage Crop.
He also won the 2002 edition of the world’s richest handicap with Media Puzzle but will be without representation in the Melbourne cup field this year.
Pale Mimosa was rated a $34 chance in Melbourne Cup betting through Ladbrokes.com.au but after their fading fifth in the Irish St Leger and Weld’s earlier concerns over the firmness of the Flemington track, she won’t be making the trip.
“It would have been great to have Dermot and Pale Mimosa in Australia for the spring, but Dermot had made it clear that while the mare was a talented stayer, firm tracks were against her,” Racing Victoria’s international recruitment officer Leigh Jordon said.
“He always maintained that if the sting was out of the track her performance would be a lot stronger and I suppose there was a risk element of arriving here and running into a firm track.”
The Queen’s horse Estimate is the other highly spruiked international out of the November 4 classic, the Monson mare last seen winning the Group 2 Doncaster Cup (3621m) on Friday night with plenty left in the tank.
However after Her Majesty’s racing advisor John Warren announced 48 hours later that after careful thought they didn’t want to risk travelling the mare to Victoria or put her broodmare prospect at risk.
“It is evident that to make the trip would be a big ask,” Warren said according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“The Queen would like to breed from her next year and she would not want to put her through that [long trip to Australia] beforehand.
“She would prefer to keep her at home.”
Warren also said of Estimate that while the two miles was a non-issue, the mare’s racing style was not suited to the Melbourne Cup and the trip would unlikely yield the right results for the stable.
“She is a grinder, not a horse who quickens in her races,” he said.
“Grinding is her trump card and time and again that type are found out by the tempo of the Cup.”
While it is disappointing to lose two power house hopes for the great race, Jordon said the attrition rate happens every year and highlights how tough the trip down under can be for northern hemisphere trained gallopers.
“They are fine athletes with their connections looking at sending them around the world to compete in our best race,” Jordon told Racing Victoria.
“They can be fragile and most [connections] are reluctant to send their horse to Australia if they can see that they will not adjust to our racing.
“It’s disappointing that Estimate couldn’t be here, and Dermot Weld will not have a runner in a race that he’s had so much success in.
“But the numbers we’ve got here and the quality of those numbers, which is all important, is great.”
The shortest priced of the internationals in Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au meanwhile are Japanese duo Bande ($15) and Admire Rakti ($17) with markets led by last year’s winning trainer Gai Waterhouse’s Sydney Cup winner The Offer ($13).
2014 Melbourne Cup weights are due for release later today with Admire Rakti tipped to be the top weight.
That makes now the time to lock in your early favourites online at Ladbrokes.com.au before markets firm!