Top hoop Kerrin McEvoy who this week resigned as Godolphin’s Australian stable jockey still has a host of plumb rides in the majors this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival including Johnny Murtagh’s Irish raider Mutual Regard in the Melbourne Cup 2014.
There are officially 147 horses heading towards a run in this year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) including a host of internationals looking to become the first since Dunaden (2011) to steal the ‘Loving Trophy’ from the locals.
In futures Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Flemington feature on November 4, one of those non-Australian or New Zealand-trained gallopers leads the odds with Japan’s Bande ($13).
Also within the first half of the all-in futures markets is Mutual Regard, the Hernando six-year-old paying $34 to win the ‘race that stops a nation’.
An Irish-trained galloper was the first international Melbourne Cup winner in history back in 1993 with Dermot Weld’s Vintage Crop who was followed nine years later by Weld’s second champion in the world’s richest handicap, Media Puzzle (2002).
Since then the Irish haven’t made a real impact, something The Curragh-based Murtagh hopes to change with his smart gelding Mutual Regard.
The horse was last seen winning the Ebor Handicap (2816m) at York on August 23, a race that has provided a number of genuine Melbourne Cup contenders over the years.
Currently Mutual Regard sits 27th on the Melbourne Cup ballot, the race having a capacity final field of 24 starters.
He’s allocated 55kg, which is an advantageous six kilos less than the weight he carried to victory with Louis Steward aboard from a wide draw (16 of 19) in the Ebor.
Steward was the fourth jockey in as many runs to ride the horse who was previously prepared in Great Britain by Sir Mark Prescott.
On Australian soil yet another hoop will get behind the reins with McEvoy, who embarks on a new phase after splitting from Sheikh Mohammed’s stable for which he’s ridden over 500 winners, thrilled to have been called upon for the ride.
“There are a couple of good spring horses there and Johnny (Murtagh) rang me and asked if I would like to ride Mutual Regard for him in the (Melbourne) Cup, which was an honour coming from a (former) rider like him,” McEvoy told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I have options.”
Along with the Ebor, this year Mutual Regard also won first-up at The Curragh over 3218m so is proven over the two miles which the Melbourne Cup is also run over.
After that resuming run Mutual Regard ran third behind Pale Mimosa in the Listed Challenge Stakes (2816m) at Leopardstown, the Weld-trained winner of that race still a chance of travelling down under for a Melbourne Cup bid too.
Last seen running a disappointing fifth in a one-paced effort when beaten over 10 lengths by last year’s Melbourne Cup eighth placegetter Brown Panther in the Group 1 Irish St. Leger (2816m) on September 14, Singspiel mare Pale Mimosa entered quarantine this week.
The six-year-old’s trip to Oz however is still up in the air with Weld yet to commit to bringing her down under for a shot at his third Melbourne Cup victory after her St Leger defeat.
“She was impressive when she won the (Group 2) Lonsdale (Cup over 3299m) at York (in August), she beat a good mare that has gone on to win the Doncaster Cup so the form is pretty solid,” Weld told RSN this week.
“Pale Mimosa is a nice mare, she went into quarantine today but no decision has been made yet on whether she goes or not.
“A decision doesn’t have to be made for two weeks or close to 10 days anyway. We’ll just see how she’s training, see what the make-up of the race is like, see what the weather forecast is like and make a final call then.
“I would like to see a little bit of rain.
“I’ll have to discuss it with the connections – it’s a joint decision. There’s an awful lot of money involved.
“I withdrew her from the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot on the day because I wasn’t happy with the track. I’ve done it already this year and there was disappointment then, but it was the right call.”
Pale Mimosa is also being kept safe in Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $34 like Mutual Regard.
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