Veteran 10-year-old Ihtsahymn entered the...
It’s been 10-years since an Australian horse last won the Melbourne Cup with Shocking crossing the line in a famous 2009 victory for trainer Mark Kavanagh.
The $7 million race has been dominated by internationals over the last two decades leaving very few windows of opportunity for home grown talent, but trainer Danny O’Brien is hoping to put an end to that drought on Tuesday as his four-year-old gelding Vow And Declare steps out against a total of 11 international rivals.
The odds are already stacked against the son of Declaration Of War after drawing gate 21 during Saturday’s barrier draw. Bookmakers reacted accordingly drifting the Caulfield Cup second place-getter out to $12.00 odds, but that hasn’t stopped O’Brien from campaigning for the feel-good Australian story.
“This is the one… it is a very elusive target, more and more so with the internationalism of the race in the last decade,” O’Brien told the Herald Sun.
“There are very few Australian connections that even get a look at it these days. It would be nice to think the public was keen to see an Australian horse win it, and our horse ticks every box.”
Vow And Declare ran a brave second behind this year’s Cup favourite Mer De Glace in the Caulfield Cup a fortnight ago. The talented stayer will be third-up on Tuesday in his second Group 1 start, but after Warning, also by Declaration Of War, won the $2 million Victoria Derby on Saturday, there is reason for hope.
“I think we can probably overanalyze the barriers for the Melbourne Cup. Ultimately, it’s a two-mile race and there’s a long run to the first turn. Our boy is going to settle midfield or beyond, I don’t think it’ll be a problem,” O’Brien told Sky Racing.
In a bizarre twist of fate, the last horse to win the Cup from barrier 21 was Shocking back in 2009. Vow And Declare is also hoping to become just the 10th horse to win after a previous Cup placing.
O’Brien said after Saturday’s draw that his horses fitness is spot on for a step up to the two-mile race that stops a nation. If the rain stays away, he also thinks it will suit Vow And Declare perfectly.
“He couldn’t be better. He ran really well for us at Caulfield in the Caulfield Cup, he’s come out of it in really good shape, fitness is right where we it to be at the two-mile here on Tuesday.
I think the track here is as good a racetrack as there is in the world. We’re not going to get a significant amount of rain here – it’ll be a perfect track and that’ll be fine for us” O’Brien went on to say.
Four-year-old’s have enjoyed the most success at the Melbourne Cup with 45 wins to their name. O’Brien is also hoping Australian jockey Craig Williams, who is yet to win the Cup, can bring with him the same form that saw him win the Kennedy Cantala aboard Fierce Impact on Saturday.
“Any person that’s ever stepped on a racetrack in Australia would dream of being involved. We’ve got an Australian horse that’s owned by Australians, ridden by an Australian, trained by an Australian, so it’d be fantastic” O’Brien said.
2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup Field
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight|
|1||12x1x1x434||CROSS COUNTER (GB)||Charlie Appleby||William Buick||5||57.5kg|
|2||211x11x1x1||MER DE GLACE (JPN)||Hisashi Shimizu||Damian Lane||2||56kg|
|3||7250×14335||MASTER OF REALITY (IRE)||Joseph O’Brien||Frankie Dettori||1||55.5kg|
|4||2x0x1322x3||MIRAGE DANCER (GB)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Ben Melham||13||55.5kg|
|5||37×3264413||SOUTHERN FRANCE (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Mark Zahra||14||55.5kg|
|6||3344465881||HUNTING HORN (IRE)||Aidan O’Brien||Seamie Heffernan||11||55kg|
|7||220×344216||LATROBE (IRE)||Joseph O’Brien||James McDonald||22||55kg|
|8||4x1x723516||MUSTAJEER (GB)||Kris Lees||Damien Oliver||6||55kg|
|9||251557×790||ROSTROPOVICH (IRE)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Dwayne Dunn||12||55kg|
|10||423x2411x7||TWILIGHT PAYMENT (IRE)||Joseph O’Brien||Hugh Bowman||19||55kg|
|11||x1x34x5125||FINCHE (GB)||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||4||54kg|
|12||8x49x58321||PRINCE OF ARRAN (GB)||Charlie Fellowes||Michael Walker||8||54kg|
|13||1x6x237x4x||RAYMOND TUSK (IRE)||Richard Hannon||Jamie Spencer||3||54kg|
|14||x196112x31||DOWNDRAFT (IRE)||Joseph O’Brien||John Allen||15||53.5kg|
|15||2×53220224||MAGIC WAND (IRE)||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore||24||53.5kg|
|16||2x30x80709||NEUFBOSC (FR)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Luke Nolen||23||53.5kg|
|17||00x048x070||SOUND (GER)||Michael Moroney||James Winks||10||53.5kg|
|18||1514132×41||SURPRISE BABY (NZ)||Paul Preusker||Jordan Childs||20||53.5kg|
|19||531×212224||CONSTANTINOPLE (IRE)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Joao Moreira||7||52.5kg|
|20||322×17135||IL PARADISO (USA)||Aidan O’Brien||Wayne Lordan||17||52.5kg|
|21||x11111x467||STEEL PRINCE (IRE)||Anthony Freedman||Brett Prebble||16||52.5kg|
|22||0141×59195||THE CHOSEN ONE (NZ)||Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman||Tim Clark||18||52kg|
|23||1x36621x42||VOW AND DECLARE||Danny O’Brien||Craig Williams||21||52kg|
|24||x059x87873||YOUNGSTAR||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||9||52kg|
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