In-form jockey Dean Yendall has been booked to ride light-weight chance Unchain My Heart should the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained veteran make the 24 starter Melbourne Cup 2014 field next Tuesday.
The eight-year-old Al Maher mare sits 24th on the order of entry for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) following Tuesday’s withdrawal of the Gai Waterhouse-trained The Offer due to soreness issues.
There’s still a chance she could be pushed out of the starting line-up for the famous Flemington showdown however with ballot exemptions on offer for the winners of Saturday’s Lexus Stakes and Mackinnon Stakes on Victoria Derby Day.
Unchain My Heart is weighted on just 51.5kg for her Melbourne Cup bid, the diminutive Yendall announced as the hoop to partner with her in ‘the race that stops a nation’.
The 40-year-old is in flying form sitting top of the Victorian Jockey Premiership for the season with 38 wins so far, but has been struggling to get the Group 1 rides this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Last time out Stephen Baster had the ride on Unchain My Heart when she ran second last beaten nearly nine lengths by now Melbourne Cup favourite Admire Rakti in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
She over-raced early in the Caulfield Cup and looked outclassed the same as she did when a distant ninth to Big Memory in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes over the same track and distance seven days earlier.
One thing in Unchain My Heart’s favour however is her obvious staying ability.
A veteran of 58 starts she has celebrated just 10 wins but the most recent of those was in Flemington’s other two mile event.
Back on May 24, with Craig Newitt aboard, she beat home Vatuvei by two and a half lengths carrying 55.5kg to victory in the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (3200m).
The rise in grade however is the real issue for next week and the bookies are wary based on her poor lead-up form, Unchain My Heart a $201 roughie in Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Still Yendall is pleased to have picked up a ride in the world’s richest handicap having had just the one previous ride in a Melbourne Cup field.
“It’s good advertisement for me and obviously it’s a great race to have a ride in,” Yendall told Racing Victoria.
“She’s proven over two miles at the track, obviously it’s been against a lot lesser grade, but David thinks she’s going well enough otherwise they wouldn’t pay up for her.”
Yendall’s sole Melbourne Cup ride before this year was in 2011 aboard the unplaced Niwot.
He was also lined-up to partner Dolphin Jo in 2006 but broke his leg in a Moonee Valley fall the week before Melbourne Cup Day.
Last weekend Yendall partnered with the Gai Waterhouse-trained three-year-old Wandjina in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), finishing 10th, an effort he’s hoping to improve on in the Melbourne Cup.
Hayes & Dabernig are hoping Unchain My Heart can go straight into the famous Flemington Race 7 without having to run in the $300,000 Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) this weekend.
“All going well, and with a bit of luck, I’ll be riding next Tuesday,” Yendall added.
To check out the full futures Melbourne Cup odds and throw a sneaky dollar or two on Unchain My Heart at her blow-out price visit Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $10 million Melbourne Cup MegaFecta next Tuesday!