Sunday at the Sunshine Coast sees the postponed...
It’s safe to say Richard Freeman’s only hopeful in this year’s Melbourne Cup won’t be well-fancied come Tuesday.
Eight-year old French gelding Auvray, who underwent a stewards investigation for a banned substance last start, has drifted all the way out to $71.00 with Ladbrokes after drawing barrier one on Saturday.
Although the gates usually prove meaningless over the 3200m journey, the inside draw has been less than favourable throughout the Cup’s 158-year history, with only five winners coming from barrier one.
Despite the seemingly no-chance odds though, jockey Tommy Berry still thinks Auvray’s form lines up ahead of Flemington’s $7 million race, even if the bookies aren’t giving his ride a chance.
“This guy’s got good overseas staying form in France, and he ran fourth in a Sydney Cup over the same trip,” Berry told Racing.com on Sunday.
Unlike several other runners, Auvray enters Tuesday’s race having already made three starts during the Spring. He ran second in the Group 3 Newcastle Cup (2300m) in September, followed by two sixth-placings at Randwick up in trip.
Also to his name is experience with the Flemington straight, albeit to mixed results after running 15th and 16th in back-to-back starts two years ago. Even so, Berry seems to think Auvray can handle the journey.
“Half the field won’t stay, and hopefully he’s one of them” the jockey went on to say.
Including Auvray, this year’s Melbourne Cup field is dominated by 11 international raiders, two of which include Irish favourites Yucatan at $6.00 and second-elect Magic Circle at $9.00
Still, Berry is wary of Chris Waller’s mare Youngstar, who he thinks has lined up some pretty strong form despite opening at $16.00 odds ahead of next Tuesday.
“I think Youngstar is a horse everyone has forgotten about a little bit, he’s down in the weights, take away his Caulfield Cup run last start and he’s been phenomenal” Berry said.
“He’s got the Winx form, and that’s the best form there is, he’s got Craig Williams in the saddle, so he’s going to be tough to beat.”
Despite the highs of Winx’s fourth Cox Plate win a fortnight ago, the Melbourne Cup has always eluded Waller.
Youngstar enters as one of five four-year old’s in this year’s race, but she has the Winx form and the Caulfield Cup form to her name that could easily see her figure in the placings.
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