The 2020 Melbourne Cup (3200m) is shaping up to be one of the strongest and hotly contested editions of the time-honoured race, largely thanks to the army of international raiders that have come out for the $8 million contest.
Eight of the 24 starters are trained overseas, including market leaders Anthony Van Dyck and Tiger Moth, who are battling for favouritism.
However, local trainers Danny O’Brien and Ciaron Maher are quietly confident that their runners can serve it up to the internationals and that we could see another local winner, like O’Brien’s Vow And Declare last year.
What a finish to the race that stops a nation!
VOW AND DECLARE gets up in the final strides in a thrilling finish to win the 2019 #MelbourneCup for Australia! ???
— Timeform Live (@TimeformLive) November 5, 2019
O’Brien is saddling up four runners including Vow And Declare, but he’s more excited about Miami Bound and King Of Leogrance, who he feels have outside chances.
“If either are going to be a factor in a race this spring, it’s going to be in the Melbourne Cup,” he said when talking to RSN927.
His top seed is of course Russian Camelot, who has produced a very strong preparation, even if he has not quite scaled the heights that some had hoped.
“I think he’s got a very good profile. His weight-for-age form has been very good all spring and he couldn’t have gone any better in the Cox Plate,” he said.
“He’ll definitely be ridden more conservatively. In the Cox Plate we really had to go back to last or sit on the lead. We didn’t think he could win going back to last so we rolled the dice and he ran very well… “ideally he’ll have plenty of horses in front of him and hopefully line them up at the 600 and rein them in.”
A phenomenal training performance and a sensational win from Russian Camelot in the SA Derby! ?@DOBrienRacing is the 2020 Fred Hoysted Medal winner. ? #vicracingawards @RacingInsider pic.twitter.com/7ClcTgommE
— Racing.com (@Racing) August 26, 2020
Ciaron Maher admitted that Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet would have preferred some cut in the ground, but should still perform well on the dry deck.
“He absolutely does love a shower of rain but he’ll handle that [a firm surface], no problem,” he said while talking to RSN927.
“He’s had the right foundation. He’s looked better and better the longer he’s been here. His Cox Plate recovery was almost instant, which is what you want to see after a testing weight-for-age race. There wasn’t even the flare of a nostril. He’s certainly ticking all the boxes for me.”
Maher was also optimistic about the chances of Persan, who is in very good form and gets in well at the weights.
“He’s got a big chance, I reckon… it is a handicap and you see year in, year out the ones down in the handicap, if they have the right formlines, always run well,” he said.
“He’s drawn quite wide which can make the job a little bit tricky but he can definitely run a big race.”
Persan has secured a spot in the Melbourne Cup with a tough victory in the Bart Cummings @FlemingtonVRC for @cmaherracing and @eustacedj under a sweet ride from @JyeMcNeil ? pic.twitter.com/Jg5HsMmATr
— RSN927am (@RSN927) October 3, 2020
Check out the full 2020 Melbourne Cup market below.
|1||Anthony Van Dyck (3)J: Hugh Bowman 58.5kg T: A O’brien||$9.00||$3.00||Bet Now|
|2||Avilius (10)J: John Allen 57kg T: James Cummings||$51.00||$12.00||Bet Now|
|3||Vow And Declare (4)J: Jamie Mott 57kg T: D T O’brien||$51.00||$12.00||Bet Now|
|4||Master Of Reality (11)J: Ben Melham 56kg T: Joseph O’brien||$21.00||$6.00||Bet Now|
|5||Sir Dragonet (14)J: Glen Boss 55.5kg T: C Maher & D Eustace||$11.00||$3.50||Bet Now|
|6||Twilight Payment (12)J: Jye Mcneil 55.5kg T: Joseph O’brien||$21.00||$6.00||Bet Now|
|7||Verry Elleegant (15)J: Mark Zahra 55.5kg T: C J Waller||$12.00||$3.80||Bet Now|
|8||Mustajeer (2)J: Michael Rodd 55kg T: K A Lees||$81.00||$20.00||Bet Now|
|9||Stratum Albion (9)J: Jordan Childs 55kg T: W P Mullins||$51.00||$12.00||Bet Now|
|10||Dashing Willoughby (19)J: Michael Walker 54.5kg T: Andrew Balding||$81.00||$20.00||Bet Now|
|11||Finche (6)J: James Mcdonald 54.5kg T: C J Waller||$18.00||$5.50||Bet Now|
|12||Prince Of Arran (1)J: Jamie Kah 54.5kg T: Charlie Fellowes||$10.00||$3.30||Bet Now|
|13||Surprise Baby (7)J: Craig Williams 54.5kg T: P A Preusker||$9.00||$3.00||Bet Now|
|14||King Of Leogrance (18)J: Damian Lane 53.5kg T: D T O’brien||$51.00||$12.00||Bet Now|
|15||Russian Camelot (16)J: Damien Oliver 53.5kg T: D T O’brien||$12.00||$3.80||Bet Now|
|16||Steel Prince (21)J: William Pike 53.5kg T: A & S Freedman||$41.00||$10.00||Bet Now|
|17||The Chosen One (5)J: Daniel Stackhouse 53.5kg T: M Baker & A Forsman||$34.00||$8.50||Bet Now|
|18||Ashrun (24)J: Declan Bates 53kg T: Andreas Wohler||$21.00||$6.00||Bet Now|
|19||Warning (8)J: Luke Currie 53kg T: A & S Freedman||$41.00||$10.00||Bet Now|
|20||Etah James (22)J: Billy Egan 52.5kg T: C Maher & D Eustace||$101.00||$26.00||Bet Now|
|21||Tiger Moth (23)J: Kerrin Mcevoy 52.5kg T: A O’brien||$7.50||$2.60||Bet Now|
|22||Oceanex (17)J: Dean Yendall 51.5kg T: M Price & M Kent Jnr||$67.00||$18.00||Bet Now|
|23||Miami Bound (13)J: Daniel Moor 51kg T: D T O’brien||$34.00||$8.50||Bet Now|
|24||Persan (20)J: Michael Dee 51kg T: C Maher & D Eustace||$31.00||$8.00||Bet Now|