Connections of the OTI-owned French raider Au Revoir are in no rush to confirm a 2014 Melbourne Cup jockey for the stallion next Tuesday leaving their decision until Victoria Derby Day this Saturday.
Jockeys for all but three of the horses currently inside the top 24 on the ballot for this year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) have been announced, one of the three still rider-less stayers being the Andre Fabre-trained Au Revoir.
The son of Singspiel, a northern-hemisphere four-year-old, sits 21st on the Melbourne Cup ballot following the withdrawal of the Gai Waterhouse-trained The Offer who was sixth on the order of entry.
Allocated 53.5kg Au Revoir looks well safe then of making the Melbourne Cup field even if horses outside the top 24 win both the Lexus Stakes and Mackinnon Stakes and back-up in three days’ time in the ‘race that stops the nation’.
Group 1 performed back home in France last year, Au Revoir debuted down under last Saturday in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) on Cox Plate Day.
There he worked his way to the front with Damien Oliver in the saddle, controlling the pace and kicking strongly before being run down late by the winner Prince Of Penzance to cross just under two lengths away third.
He is now paying $51 through Ladbrokes.com.au to win the Melbourne Cup next week.
Terry Henderson from OTI Racing said no decision on who would jump aboard the outside chance would be made until Saturday afternoon but the likes of Brett Prebble, Glyn Schofield and Brazilian-born Joao Moreira have all been considered for the 53.5kg light weight.
“There’s no rush. We will see who is available on Saturday,” Henderson told TVN on Tuesday.
“If there’s a couple of jockeys available we will make a choice.”
The other two Melbourne Cup hopes yet to have their riders confirmed 100% are the Michael Moroney-trained Araldo and Robert Hickmott’s Sea Moon.
Now 23rd on the ballot, High Chaparral seven-year-old Araldo is well liked in Melbourne Cup betting paying $19 through Ladbrokes.com.au after two strong runs in Group 1 company this season.
He is nominated to run this Saturday in the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and is also entered for the $300,000 Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m), The Metropolitan third placegetter coming off a close fifth to Admire Rakti in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Japan’s Admire Rakti will now carry the 58.5kg in the Melbourne Cup, a weight not carried to victory since Think Big for his second in 1975, and is the $4.80 favourite to do so through Ladbrokes.
Sea Moon meanwhile is one of three Melbourne Cup second acceptors for Hickmott and owner Lloyd Williams along with 2012 champion Green Moon and Amralah who is 38th on the order of entry and running in the Lexus on Saturday.
Tommy Berry lost his Melbourne Cup ride when The Offer was ruled out but will partner with either Sea Moon or, should he gain a run, Hickmott’s in-form European import Amralah who races down under for the first time on Derby Day.
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