Reigning ATC Oaks winner from the autumn in Sydney, the John Sargent-trained Gust Of Wind is the sole mare in a capacity Melbourne Cup 2015 field on Tuesday looking to break a lengthy drought of four-year-old mares in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Star Kiwi-trained Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup double winner Ethereal (2001) was the last four-year-old mare to win the famous Flemington Race 7 on the first Tuesday of November, something Sargent’s daughter of Darci Brahma is out to emulate in this year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Gust Of Wind is the sole mare in the mix and is out to become just the second since Ethereal to win after the mighty Makybe Diva scored three years in a row from 2003-05 becoming the only triple Melbourne Cup winner in history.
Makybe Diva’s wins were during her five-to-seven-year-old seasons however, making Ethereal the youngest mare to win the world’s richest handicap since Let’s Elope (1991).
In between Let’s Elope win as a four-year-old in ’91 and the dominance of Makybe Diva, the only other female Melbourne Cup winner was then six-year-old Jezabeel (1998) who came off a sixth in the Caulfield Cup.
The Caulfield Cup is also the race that produces Gust Of Wind this year when she ran a brave fourth behind Mongolian Khan over the mile and a half on October 17.
Ed Dunlop’s visiting British galloper Trip To Paris, a stablemate of triple Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux who is at $26 to finally win the race on Tuesday in his fifth start, was runner-up in the Caulfield Cup and is now the $8.50 second pick for the Melbourne Cup.
Leading Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are giving away a brand new Ford 4×4 Ranger in their ‘Melbourne Cup Prize Draw’, is Japan’s Fame Game who was a luckless sixth in the Caulfield Cup and out to $4.40 to win his second run down under.
Gust Of Wind meanwhile is a $34 outsider in Melbourne Cup betting, which if successful would make her the longest priced winner since Viewed (40/1) scored the upset in 2008.
Since 1991 there have been five four-year-old male Melbourne Cup winners with: Subzero (1992), Saintly (1996), Might And Power (1997), Efficient (2007) and most recently the Mark Kavanagh-trained Shocking (2009).
An even greater hoodoo Gust Of Wind faces is completing the ATC Oaks / Melbourne Cup double in the same year, a feat not achieved since the Bart Cummings-trained Light Fingers (1965) who gave the Cups’ King his maiden of an eventual 12 victories.
On Tuesday Gust Of Wind does get the light-weight advantage getting in on just 51kg, which three Melbourne Cup winners have carried to victory since Let’s Elope in 1991 with Jezabeel (1998), Makybe Diva (2003) for her first and Shocking (2009).
She jumps from barrier 19 with Chad Schofield retaining the ride, the gate last producing a winner in 1984 with Black Knight over 30 years ago while Schofield shoots for his first ‘Loving Trophy’ with his third Melbourne Cup ride to date.
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