One of four OTI-owned 2014 Melbourne Cup horses drawn out wide for Tuesday’s Flemington feature, Brambles is on track for the two mile acid test despite a lackluster Victoria Derby Day run.
OTI are represented in this year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) by international raiders Gatewood (barrier 22) and Au Revoir (barrier 23), as well as the Peter Moody-trained duo of Lidari (barrier 10) Brambles who is due to jump from barrier 21 with Luke Nolen in the saddle.
The contingent are all outside chances also in the latest Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au with the shortest priced of the four being Brambles at $41.
Former winner of the Queensland Derby as a three-year-old, the now six-year-old, injury prone Savabeel gelding gets into the Melbourne Cup field with 54kg.
That’s a five kilo drop from the 59kg he carried under weight-for-age conditions on Saturday when ninth behind the impressive winner Happy Trails in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
Before the Lexus Brambles caught the eye when only a length off the Japanese-trained winner Admire Rakti, now the $5 top pick in Melbourne Cup betting, in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
The Mackinnon then wasn’t a must-win race for Brambles, but more to just keep him ticking over and get the miles in his legs the way the ‘Cups King’ Bart Cummings used to do with his Melbourne Cup horses three days out from the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Brambles was six and three quarter lengths off the Mackinnon Stakes winner looking very dour heading towards his first test up over the two miles on Tuesday.
While the Melbourne Cup distance is a definite query, Brambles went to sleep with Nolen aboard in the Mackinnon giving part-owner and OTI manager Terry Henderson confidence going into the Melbourne Cup.
“Everything was okay,” Henderson said in the post-Derby Day wash-up.
“It just wasn’t the best of runs for a 2000m race but he ran like a dour horse today.
“Hopefully that’s just taken the edge off him.”
As for the wide barrier 21 draw, Henderson said the horse will need to be doing some early work to get across and into position with the last Melbourne Cup winner from the barrier being only five years ago with the Mark Kavanagh-trained Shocking (2009).
“He’s going to have to get across,” Henderson said.
“Hopefully he can get some cover and go the two miles.”
Far from a disaster gate historically speaking, barrier 21 has also produced Rogan Josh (1990), Subzero (1992) and Kensei (1987) for their wins in the past 30 years.
The other Moody-trained, OTI-raced Melbourne Cup hope this year is then Lidari paying $51 with Ben Melham riding the 53.5kg lightweight.
Barrier 10 looks a good draw for Tuesday, Japan’s Delta Blues (2006) the last to win for the gate, with Acclamation six-year-old Lidari coming off a brave Caulfield Cup sixth behind Admire Rakti who has barrier eight in the Melbourne edition.
“(Lidari is) a roll along horse,” Henderson said.
“He’s done everything right so it’s a hope job.”
To back the OTI Melbourne Cup chances on Tuesday visit Ladbrokes.com.au where for only a $1 their Megafecta on the Melbourne Cup gives you a shot at $10 million!