Oliver picks up plum Cup ride

Damien Oliver’s eventful Spring Racing Carnival took another twist yesterday when he was confirmed as the rider for one of the leading contenders for this year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup.

The Hall of Fame hoop will ride 2010 winner Americain in the $6.2 million event at Flemington on 6 November.

Connections of the Alain de Royer Dupre-trained, Australian-owned eight-year-old called on Oliver after electing to replace Gerald Mosse, who rode Americain into fourth placing off a wide run in the BMW Caulfield Cup last Saturday.

That was a run that caught the attention of bookmakers, who promoted Americain to the $8 second line in Cup markets, which are headed by another French star, Dunaden, who won the Caulfield Cup.

Picking up the Americain ride puts Oliver back in the frame to add another Melbourne Cup success to previous wins aboard Doriemus (1995) and Media Puzzle (2002) in Australia’s greatest race.

Oliver had been booked to ride My Quest For Peace, but was relieved of the ride aboard the Luca Cumani-trained galloper after details that he was the subject of a stewards investigation, as revealed in The Sunday Age, were made public.

Oliver, who won the Group 1 Thousand Guineas, days after being stripped of the My Quest For Peace ride, also lost the ride on Green Moon, who is one of the leading contenders for this afternoon’s $3 million Sportingbet Cox Plate.

Story by Brad Bishop

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Moonee Valley Saturday Selections

Cox Plate Meeting – Saturday October 27

Race 1 – 13. Pinova 7. Ryker 8. Shamus Award

Race 2 – 9. I Get Around 4. Winter King 1. Kulgrinda

Race 3 – 3. Midnight Martini (SPECIAL) 1. Extra Zero 5. Destiny’s Kiss

Race 4 – 7. Cavalry Rose 2. Hidden Warrior 1. Chosen Moment

Race 5 – 1. It’s A Dundeel 4. Super Cool 3. If I Could

Race 6 – 8. Ibicenco 6. Moudre 2. Precedence

Race 7 – 1. Rangirangdoo 6. Ambidexter 7. Silent Achiever

Race 8 – 12. Pierro 4. Green Moon 10. More Joyous

Race 9 – 1. Spirit Song (EACH-WAY SPECIAL) 5. Star Of Giselle 4. Hi Belle

Lay Of The Day: Race 7 #2 Solzhenitsyn – Finished the race off strongly to win the Toorak Hcp last time out. Rises 7kgs at WFA today and we like the form of the Sydneysiders. Don’t think his racing style will suit the tight Valley track, expect him to wobble around the turn.

Gate crashes French party at Geelong

France’s domination of the Centrebet Geelong Cup is over, but the $300,000 Group 3 has again been won by a European with Gatewood scoring a deserved win in today’s 2400-metre event.

The John Gosden-trained five-year-old atoned for a luckless Australian debut in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes, when he went to the line hard held in seventh spot after failing to obtain a clear run, with an impressive on-pace win.

A cagey Glen Boss ride carried the Galileo entire to victory over Chateau Margaux and Brigantin and strengthened his chances of a place in the $6.2 Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on 6 November.

“That was revenge for the Herbert Power last week,” Gosden’s stable representative Marcel Koren said with a grin after the race.

“The race worked out really well for the horse, he was in a good position, he gave him a brilliant ride so we we’re very happy.

“We had to (win) to get in the Cup but now we are relaxed. We’ll do everything to get him fresh and happy again in two weeks’ time.”

Gatewood was 41st in the Melbourne Cup Order of Entry heading into the Geelong Cup, but he is likely to incur a penalty – the extent of which will be announced tomorrow – enhancing the OTI-raced galloper’s chances of a start in the race.

The past two Emirates Melbourne Cups have been won by French-trained horses coming off Geelong Cup success; Americain in 2010 and Dunaden last year.

Boss endorsed Gatewood’s chances of completing the hat-trick owing to his impressive turn of foot. After settling outside leader Back In Black, Gatewood improved impressively when the pace quickened at the 700m and outsprinted his rivals up the straight.

The $3.20 favourite scored by three quarters of a length from Chateau Margaux ($10), who finished a short-half-head in advance of heavily-spruiked French galloper Brigantin ($3.50) and survived a protest from that galloper to retain second placing.

Representatives for Andre Fabre, trainer of Brigantin, were satisfied with the performance and suggested their charge was not suited by the slow early tempo and will be much better suited in the Melbourne Cup, if the six-year-old gains a start.

While the overall time of 2mins, 34.10secs was slow, the final 600m was covered in a sizzling 32.08secs.

“He went very, very quick and he was quick through the line,” Boss said. “He sprinted very quickly and there was a moment there where he just sort of plateaued for about 100 metres and then about 200 metres from the line he just got going again and run through the line.

“He had no chance the other day, so he’s got here on fresh legs and he was able to reproduce the sprint. Step him up over distance I reckon he’ll be able to reproduce that.”

Story by Brad Bishop

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Cox Plate Barrier Draw

Most of the big names fared well at this morning’s barrier draw for Saturday’s $3 million Group 1 Sportingbet Cox Plate.

Gai Waterhouse-trained three-year-old Pierro retained favouritism after drawing barrier seven in the field of 14, while Green Moon remains his biggest threat according to bookmakers after coming up with barrier five.

Caulfield Guineas winner All Too hard will start from three, Sydney visitor Shoot Out had his chances enhanced after landing gate four, while Rekindled Interest and Glass Harmonium will start from barriers one and two respectively.

The big talking point after the draw – at which connections got to choose their own barriers from those remaining – was Waterhouse’s decision to select gate 11 for More Joyous after the champion mare was the first horse drawn out.

Waterhouse’s other runner, Proisir, will start from 10, while Kiwi start Ocean Park will start from nine.

Rounding out the field are Ethiopia (six), Happy Trails (eight), Sincero (12), Southern Speed (13) and Linton (14).

The draw for this weekend’s other Group 1, Friday night’s $750,000 Manikato Stakes (1200m), was also conducted this morning with pre-draw favourite Buffering landing barrier one and star Sydney mare Sea Siren drawing gate five.

1 Shoot Out Chris Waller Hugh Bowman 4 59kg
2 Sincero Stephen Farley Michael Rodd 12 59kg
3 Glass Harmonium (IRE) Michael Moroney James McDonald 2 59kg
4 Green Moon (IRE) Robert Hickmott Craig Williams 5 59kg
5 Rekindled Interest Jim Conlan Dwayne Dunn 1 59kg
6 Linton John Sadler Steven Arnold 14 59kg
7 Happy Trails Paul Beshara Kerrin McEvoy 8 59kg
8 Ethiopia Pat Carey Rhys McLeod 6 57.5kg
9 Ocean Park (NZ) Gary Hennessy Glen Boss 9 57.5kg
10 More Joyous (NZ) Gai Waterhouse Nash Rawiller 11 57kg
11 Southern Speed Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas Luke Nolen 13 57kg
12 Pierro Gai Waterhouse Corey Brown 7 49.5kg
13 All Too Hard Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Chris Munce 3 49.5kg
14 Proisir Gai Waterhouse Craig Newitt 10 49.5kg

Dunaden penalised 1kg in Melbourne Cup

French superstar Dunaden will have to break a metric weight carrying record if he is to become the sixth horse to win the Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on multiple occasions.

The Mikel Delzangles-trained winner of the 2011 Cup will have to carry 59kg in his title defence on 6 November after today being penalised 1kg for his stunning win in Saturday’s BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m).

Not since the weights for the Melbourne Cup went metric in 1972 has a horse carried more than 58.5kg to victory with Think Big (58.5kg in 1975) and Makybe Diva (58kg in 2005) the only ones to have won with more than 57kg in that time.

Sixteen horses have carried 59kg or more in the Melbourne Cup in the last 40 years and all have failed to win. Included amongst that group are local superstars Gunsynd, Kingston Town, Better Loosen Up, Super Impose and international greats Vintage Crop, Vinnie Roe and Yeats.

Racing Victoria (RV) General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said that Dunaden, who was the original Melbourne Cup topweight along with 2010 winner Americain, deserved to be penalised given the authority of his victory at Caulfield.

“Dunaden again proved himself one of the most gifted 2400-metre horses in the world on Saturday winning the BMW Caulfield Cup with 58kg in what was an outstanding performance,” Carpenter said.

“Given the quality of field he beat and the manner in which he won the race the victory demanded a review of his Emirates Melbourne Cup handicap and I have penalised him 1kg thus rising to 59kg.

“I am aware however that a new challenge awaits him in the Melbourne Cup with horses of the calibre of Mount Athos (54kg), Galileo’s Choice (53.5kg), Green Moon (53.5kg), Mourayan (53.5kg), Tac De Boistron (53.5kg) and Brigantin (53kg) all having elected not to run at Caulfield.

“His arch rival Red Cadeaux comes into the race with 55.5kg and Dunaden, with his 59kg, now meets that horse 2.5kg worse than he did in their epic finish to last year’s race. In terms of distance in a 3200-metre contest 1kg is considered to be the equivalent of almost 2 lengths.”

Dunaden will be seeking to become the 12th horse to win the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups in the same year and the first since Ethereal in 2001.

“Only Rising Fast in 1955 with 9st 5lb has carried a weight rivalling the 59kg allocated to Dunaden when completing the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double,” Carpenter explained.

Carpenter noted that Galilee was assigned 56.5kg after his Caulfield Cup win in 1966, and Might And Power (1997) and Gurner’s Lane (1982) were asked to carry 56kg each in their subsequent Melbourne Cup victories.

The top six weighted horses in the Melbourne Cup, to be run at Flemington on 6 November, are Dunaden (59kg), Americain (58kg), Manighar (57kg), Red Cadeaux (55.5kg), Jakkalberry (55.5kg) and Winchester (55.5kg), with Manighar to be withdrawn when second acceptances are taken on 29 October 2012.