O’Brien, Maher Hopeful on Local Chances in 2020 Melbourne Cup

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Mon 2nd November 2020

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.

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.”

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.”

Check out the full 2020 Melbourne Cup market below.

1Anthony Van Dyck (3)J: Hugh Bowman 58.5kg T: A O’brien$9.00$3.00
2Avilius (10)J: John Allen 57kg T: James Cummings$51.00$12.00
3Vow And Declare (4)J: Jamie Mott 57kg T: D T O’brien$51.00$12.00
4Master Of Reality (11)J: Ben Melham 56kg T: Joseph O’brien$21.00$6.00
5Sir Dragonet (14)J: Glen Boss 55.5kg T: C Maher & D Eustace$11.00$3.50
6Twilight Payment (12)J: Jye Mcneil 55.5kg T: Joseph O’brien$21.00$6.00
7Verry Elleegant (15)J: Mark Zahra 55.5kg T: C J Waller$12.00$3.80
8Mustajeer (2)J: Michael Rodd 55kg T: K A Lees$81.00$20.00
9Stratum Albion (9)J: Jordan Childs 55kg T: W P Mullins$51.00$12.00
10Dashing Willoughby (19)J: Michael Walker 54.5kg T: Andrew Balding$81.00$20.00
11Finche (6)J: James Mcdonald 54.5kg T: C J Waller$18.00$5.50
12Prince Of Arran (1)J: Jamie Kah 54.5kg T: Charlie Fellowes$10.00$3.30
13Surprise Baby (7)J: Craig Williams 54.5kg T: P A Preusker$9.00$3.00
14King Of Leogrance (18)J: Damian Lane 53.5kg T: D T O’brien$51.00$12.00
15Russian Camelot (16)J: Damien Oliver 53.5kg T: D T O’brien$12.00$3.80
16Steel Prince (21)J: William Pike 53.5kg T: A & S Freedman$41.00$10.00
17The Chosen One (5)J: Daniel Stackhouse 53.5kg T: M Baker & A Forsman$34.00$8.50
18Ashrun (24)J: Declan Bates 53kg T: Andreas Wohler$21.00$6.00
19Warning (8)J: Luke Currie 53kg T: A & S Freedman$41.00$10.00
20Etah James (22)J: Billy Egan 52.5kg T: C Maher & D Eustace$101.00$26.00
21Tiger Moth (23)J: Kerrin Mcevoy 52.5kg T: A O’brien$7.50$2.60
22Oceanex (17)J: Dean Yendall 51.5kg T: M Price & M Kent Jnr$67.00$18.00
23Miami Bound (13)J: Daniel Moor 51kg T: D T O’brien$34.00$8.50
24Persan (20)J: Michael Dee 51kg T: C Maher & D Eustace$31.00$8.00


From Muswellbrook to the Melbourne Cup, Will is mad about all things racing and sport. Spent countless hours in the backyard as a child pretending to be Glenn McGrath, and has been known to get deadly late swing with a taped tennis ball.