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Fawkner is looking more and more like a top contender in this afternoon’s Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
The Robert Hickmott-trained gelding is on the third line of betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, offering odds of $7.50 to win the Melbourne Cup 2014, behind just Lucia Valentina ($7) and Admire Rakti ($6).
Owner Lloyd Williams is confident Fawkner can finish better than last year, in which he got a mile back and finished sixth to Fiorente, noting he is “perfect order”.
“I don’t think I’ve sent a horse to the Melbourne Cup in better condition,” Williams told RSN’s Racing Ahead on Monday.
“That doesn’t mean he can win, because he needs a lot of luck in running and there maybe one better than him, but he’s in perfect order.”
Williams knows what it means to be lucky in the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup, tasting success in the [race that stops the nation] more than any other owner. He lifted the famous trophy after wins by Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2007), and Green Moon (2012).
With Green Moon scratched from the 2014 Melbourne Cup on Monday, Fawkner is Williams’ sole chance at lifting the trophy for a fifth time.
If the race was down to preparation alone, Fawkner would surely have it in the bag. He was just a nose off Dissident in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) first up before scoring Group One success in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 11. Two weeks later he narrowly missed out on victory again, finishing a close second to Adelaide in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Fawkner is the only 2014 Melbourne Cup horse backing up from the Cox Plate, which is a key lead-up race to the ‘race that stops the nation’. The last two winners have come from the Cox Plate – Fiorente finished third and Green Moon finished seventh – so the gelding is in good company.
“I couldn’t be happier with the preparation he’s had,” Williams said.
“His run in the Makybe Diva was first-class first-up, we gave him four weeks break for the Caulfield Stakes and he was pretty impressive in the Caulfield Stakes after a four-week break and we run him in the Cox Plate.
“In the last 10 years four runners from the Cox Plate have gone on and won the Melbourne Cup, so it’s quite a good guide.”
Williams noted that hoop Nicholas Hall will be in pursuit of a forward spot in the 2014 Melbourne Cup after jumping from barrier eight.
“One of the things that we have trained him to do is jump and be in the firing line,” Williams said.
“He’s had the TJ Smith preparation; be in the first three (because) that‘s the way you win races.
“If you noticed in the Craiglee (Makybe Diva Stakes), if you noticed in the Caulfield Stakes, if you noticed in the Cox Plate you can see what we’re doing with him. He won’t be far away.”
Fawkner has a lot working in his favour for the 2014 Melbourne Cup, check out why we believe he can win the feature race here.
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