The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
One of the Irish raiders in the field, Rekindling is the early 2017 Melbourne Cup betting market mover with money coming for the entire to break the first-up hoodoo for visitors.
Not since the internationals first arrived on the Melbourne Cup winners’ list with the Dermot Weld-trained Vintage Crop ($15 in 1993) has another Northern hemisphere-trained runner win the ‘Race That Stops A Nation’ without a lead-up run down-up.
This Tuesday there are 11 raiders in the Group 1 $6.25 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) field, which has been reduced to 23 runners with the scratching of former placegetter Who Shot Thebarman (20) due to an elevated temperature.
One of the visitors has had early support with Rekindling backed in from $17 into $12 in the latest Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Drawn a treat in barrier four, which last produced a Melbourne Cup winner way back in 1987 with Kensei, the Joseph O’Brien-trained High Chaparral four-year-old is unraced in Australia leading-up to the famous Flemington Race 7.
Rekindling has winning form in Europe up to 2816m having saluted in July’s Group 2 Curragh Cup over that distance with 56kg on his back.
His latest start was a fourth when only two lengths off the winner Capri in the Group 1 St Leger (2921m) at Doncaster in the UK carrying 57.5kg.
The progressive stayer will be flying first-up with just 51.5kg on his back in the Melbourne Cup field and has the race’s 2009 winning hoop Corey Brown booked for the ride.
Rekindling is one of six Lloyd Williams-owned Melbourne Cup horses in this year’s line-up as the goliath owner chases his sixth ‘Loving Trophy’ and second in as many years after the success of Almandin in 2016.
Williams’ son Nick described the horse as fast maturing and the bookies are taking no chances with the unknown light-weight.
There are only two single-figure hopes in the Melbourne Cup betting markets currently with only two horses under $10 saluting in the race over the past decade: Fiorente ($7 in 2013) and Protectionist ($8 in 2014).
Current favourite at $8.50 is Marmelo prepared in Britain by Hughie Morrison and drawn in gate 16 with Hugh Bowman to ride.
Marmelo ran a terrific Melbourne Cup trial in his Australian debut, reeling off blistering late sectionals to make up all the ground and run sixth in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
His biggest danger at an easing $9, drifting out from $7 after drawing barrier 14, is the reigning champion Almandin who has controversial hoop Frankie Dettori aboard.
Dettori has ridden in a host of past Melbourne Cup for two second place efforts, most recently on Max Dynamite in 2015 behind Darren Weir’s triple-figure winner Prince Of Penzance.
The Italian copped a lot of slack and hefty fine for a wide ride on the well-beaten Wicklow Brave in the race last year, but has been riding in outstanding form this season.
The other best fancied with a little attention coming for them are another Williams-owned raider Johannes Vermeer ($12 into $10) who drew barrier three and ran third in the Caulfield Cup last start and the Darren Weir-trained Amelie’s Star ($26 into $18) chasing The Bart Cummings – Melbourne Cup double achieved by Almandin last spring.
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