Former star Irish hoop turned trainer Johnny Murtagh is dually represented in this year’s 2014 Melbourne Cup field but will his outsider Royal Diamond turn out to be a diamond in the rough for punters?
Murtagh was last involved in a Melbourne Cup back in 2008 when he rode the top weight Septimus (58.5kg) to a disappointing 18th behind the Bart Cummings-trained Viewed in the ‘Race That Stops a Nation’.
He’s back now looking for a win as a trainer saddling-up the Damien Oliver-ridden market mover Mutual Regard ($11) and Royal Diamond who is out from $51 to $81 in the latest Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
While money is coming for the better performed stable mate and last start Ebor Handicap winner Mutual Regard, the punters are shying away from King’s Best gelding Royal Diamond in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on Tuesday.
The veteran races as a nine-year-old down under and that age group has never won a Melbourne Cup since the race was first run in 1861.
Royal Diamond however is a proven two miler having won over the 3200m at Ascot in October last year and comes via a credible sixth behind last year’s Melbourne Cup eighth placegetter Brown Panther in the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2800m).
The horse has reportedly been thriving since arriving at Werribee and Murtagh is reluctant to write him off totally, especially after he drew nicely in barrier six for the Cup.
“Mutual Regard is probably our number one runner but Royal Diamond has settled in very well,” he told Racingbase this week.
“He went to Dubai and he did well in Dubai (last year), he likes travelling, he travels well and he likes a bit of heat on his back.”
Melbourne Cup Horse Form: #9 Royal Diamond
- Barrier: 6
- Weight: 55.5kg
- Jockey: Steven Arnold
- Trainer: Johnny Murtagh
- Owners: Mr W A Tinkler
- Age: 9YO
- Gender: Gelding
- Breeding: by King’s Best (USA) from Irresistible Jewel (IRE
- Career: 38-9-7-5
- Win: 24%
- Place: 55%
- Last 6: x20x26
- Prize Money: $667,994
- Track: 0-0-0-0
- Distance: 4-1-0-2
- Current 2014 Melbourne Cup Odds: $81
Why Royal Diamond Can Score an Upset 2014 Melbourne Cup Result
- Came up trumps in the Melbourne Cup barrier draw with gate six
- Has only finished out of the money once from four starts over the 3200m Melbourne Cup distance
- Will appreciate the 55.5kg weight having carried 58kg or more for his last five runs including a hefty 62kg in the Irish St Leger last time out on September 14
Why Royal Diamond Won’t Win the Melbourne Cup 2014
- While barrier six reads well it hasn’t produced a Melbourne Cup winner in the past 31 years
- Johnny Murtagh has never trained a Melbourne Cup winner
- Steven Arnold rides the horse for the first time and hasn’t won a Melbourne Cup to date
- Listed on the Melbourne Cup form as a nine-year-old and no 9YO in history has won the race
- Only an average 24% win rate
- Races at Flemington for the first time
- On debut down under and no international since Vintage Crop (1993) has won the Melbourne Cup without a previous start in Australia
- Is on the drift in Melbourne Cup betting
If you fancy either of Murtagh’s two Melbourne Cup hopefuls this week make sure you lock them in at the hottest prices online at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $10 million Megafecta for the first Tuesday of November!