This Saturday marks the Melbourne Cup 2016 campaign kick-off for the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained import Excess Knowledge who runs first-up at Moonee Valley.
A now seven-year-old son of Monsun, Excess Knowledge is one of 16 nominations taken for the weekend’s weight-for-age $250,000 Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) in Melbourne.
The stallion hasn’t raced since his failed 10th to Leebaz at the Gold Coast in the Group 2 A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) from early May, before which he had just one autumn run when second to It’s Somewhat at Rosehill in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) in March.
“He did have a bit of a light autumn, that was purpose-built,” co-trainer Bott told Racing Victoria.
Tuned up for his first-up run, Excess Knowledge trialled at Rosehill in mid-August running second over 1030m and has a strong record of two wins, two seconds and a third from seven resuming runs to date.
Formerly prepared in Europe, the stayer has been racing in Australia since the winter of 2014 and is a dual Group 3 winner down under.
His last win was on Victoria Derby Day last Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington when he took out the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m).
That qualified him for a shot at the ‘race that stops a nation’ on the first Tuesday of November, Excess Knowledge far from disgraced when three lengths off the winner Prince Of Penzance in last year’s Melbourne Cup.
The $6 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), scheduled for November 1 this spring, is again on the radar for the galloper and Bott said every step of his preparation would be geared towards a run in the two mile classic.
“He’s been aimed at the Melbourne Cup again; he ran a huge race in it last year,” he said.
“Everything’s been geared towards another Cup preparation, and this is a starting point.
“We like to have a good foundation [fitness-wise] with him going to the races.
“That being said, the grand final is still a while off so there’s definitely improvement to come.
“He’s forward enough to run a very competitive race fresh on Saturday.”
As for Excess Knowledge’s chances in the Dato’, the early markets have him listed at $17 with Darren Weir’s Japanese raider Tosen Stardom ($5) and the returning Robert Hickmott-trained Group 1 winner The United States ($6) the top two in betting.
Bott thinks their horse is a top three chance though with Excess Knowledge boasting a two-from-four record over the mile ahead of his maiden Moonee Valley assignment, the horse having a quick look at the track in a Tuesday morning gallop.
“It’s a lovely track here, so it’s always great to take advantage of that and give him a nice hit-out for Saturday’s race,” he said.
“He has the advantage of having a Melbourne preparation before so he’s well-equipped this time around.”
2016 Melbourne Cup nominations officially closed at midday today, August 30, and are set for release by Racing Victoria shortly.
Current all-in Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Excess Knowledge listed as a $51 shot to hand co-trainer Waterhouse with her second success after the ‘Loving Trophy’ she won with Fiorente in 2013.
To check out the full Melbourne Cup futures markets and back your early favourites for the world’s richest handicap head to Ladbrokes.com.au now!