Local horseman Michael Moroney has described his 2014 Melbourne Cup hope Araldo and the team as “well practiced in bad barriers” after the in-form stallion came up with the outside gate in the 24 horse field for Tuesday’s Flemington classic.
Moroney and connections opted not to give Araldo, who was sitting on the cusp of a start in this year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), a final run on Victoria Derby Day on Saturday.
The decision to roll the dice paid off with 2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon, number two on the ballot, coming out with a cracked hoof allowing for Araldo to make the cut regardless of the Lexus and Mackinnon Stakes results on the weekend.
It was a stroke of good luck as Moroney, winner of the 2000 Melbourne Cup with the Kerrin McEvoy-ridden Brew, said he didn’t really want to give the High Chaparral seven-year-old another run before his first look at the two miles.
“It worked out really well,” he said on Saturday.
“I didn’t really want to run him.
“It’s a balance between time between runs and giving him a little bit of work but not over-running him.”
That’s where the good luck seemingly left however with the Melbourne Cup barrier draw resulting in Araldo jumping from the ‘visitor’s gate’ 24 of 24 in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
“This horse is well practiced in bad barriers, and we’re well practiced too,” Moroney said.
It will be a tough test for both the horse and jockey Dwayne Dunn who chases his first winning Melbourne Cup ride, but Moroney still thinks the horse more than capable of being competitive.
“He’s a backmarker anyway,” he said.
“First thoughts are we’ll study up and go forward and have a plan to try to get him midfield.”
Barrier 23 hasn’t produced a winner in the past 30 years but gate 22 was successful for Moroney and Brew 14 years ago.
The latest Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by the Tomoyuki Umeda-trained 58.5kg top weight Admire Rakti ($5) to be ridden by Zac Purton from gate eight.
Araldo meanwhile gets in a nice 53kg lightweight, the same he had for his brave fifth behind Admire Rakti in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18.
In the Caulfield Cup, where he jumped from barrier 15 with Craig Williams aboard, Araldo over raced early on settling towards the tail of the field running a cheeky race as a 30-1 roughie shot picking them off over the closing stages when only a length and a half off the Japanese horse.
Before that Araldo was wide again when jumping from the outside barrier 16 draw for the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m), getting blocked for a run before working home strongly to finish 1.3 lengths away third to the Chris Waller-trained winner Junoob.
On Tuesday he gets the chance to turn the tables on both his last start conquerors, Junoob one of three in the Melbourne Cup field for Waller and paying $26 to win, but will have to do it tough again from his widest draw yet.
“He’s a pretty lightly raced horse,” Moroney added.
“It’s taken until the last couple of runs to work out what sort of horse he is.
“He’s a natural stayer…still a bull but a nice quiet stallion.
“He’s pretty laid back.”
Melbourne Cup betting markets have him as a $26 chance to win, full markets open online now at Ladbrokes.com.au where for a dollar wager the Megafecta gives you the chance to win $10 million by picking the first seven over the line in Race 7 on Tuesday!