On the first Tuesday of November in the famous Flemington Race 7 jockey Blake Shinn will reunite with Chris Waller’s The Metropolitan winner Junoob in the Melbourne Cup 2014 field.
Shinn rode the Haafhd six-year-old to victory two starts back in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick in Sydney before being replaced by the Hong Kong-based Douglas Whyte last time out.
Having been aboard Junoob for all four of his other starts this time in, including another Randwick win in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) in September, Whyte had the reigns when the European import lined-up in the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) last Saturday.
Junoob jumped from barrier 12 (of 18) and was pushed forward early but was stuck three wide.
He put in a good late effort after looking like getting thrashed and managed to run seventh to the Japanese-trained winner Admire Rakti, beaten a credible two and a half lengths.
Next is the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), a race Waller is looking to win for the first time – the four time Sydney Premiership winning trainer having saddled up six horses in the ‘race that stops a nation’ over the years.
For his run in the world’s richest handicap Junoob gets Shinn back aboard, the jockey having been successful with a win from his six Melbourne Cup runs so far.
He guided the Bart Cummings-trained Viewed (2008) to victory for his narrow success over Bauer six years ago, Viewed being the most recent of the ‘Cups King’ Cummings’ record 12 Melbourne Cup winners.
Cummings, who now trains in partnership with his grandson James, has a sole chance at an incredible 13th Melbourne Cup trophy this year with veteran stayer Precedence who aims for a third Moonee Valley Cup win on Cox Plate Day this Saturday.
After his gutsy Caulfield Cup triumph carrying the 58kg top weight and coming home from a wide run, Admire Rakti is now the $4.80 favourite in Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
He is joined on single figures by Andreas Wohler’s Group 2 Prix Kergorlay winning German stayer Protectionist ($6.50) who came from well back to power home for a fourth in the Herbert Power Stakes on October 11 and beaten Caulfield Cup favourite Lucia Valentina ($7) who lost few admires with her brave third.
Junoob meanwhile occupies the fifth line of Melbourne Cup betting at $17, just behind last year’s Caulfield Cup winner and favourite for this weekend’s Cox Plate Fawkner paying $13 to win the Melbourne Cup 2014.
If Fawkner is successful in both the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup this spring he will be the first horse to achieve the rare spring double since triple Melbourne Cup winning mare Makybe Diva (2005).
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