Can Australia Keep the Melbourne Cup at Home?
Following Order of St George’s defeat in the Irish St Leger (at odds of 1/7) connections have elected not to make the journey to the Emirates Melbourne Cup, instead they will target the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The defection of the ante-post favourite and top-weight has thrown the Melbourne 2016 Cup betting wide-open. It’s now 16/1 the field with the major firms. The horses available at that price are Bondi Beach, Big Orange and Wicklow Brave who was the horse which lowered the colours of Order of St George last time out.
All three are trained in Europe. The fourth name on the betting list is the Japanese trained Curren Mirotic while the best of the home defence, according to the bookmakers, is Hartnell who actually began his career in England. One below him on the betting lists is 25/1 poke Tarzino who is New Zealand-bred.
Statistically, since 1882, New Zealand bred horses have won 40 Melbourne Cups, British bred horses five, American bred horses four, Irish bred horses three and Japanese, French and German bred horses one.
As for the countries that horses have been trained from, the ‘European invasion’ did not truly start until 1993 when Vintage Crop scored for Irish conditioner Dermot Weld. He claimed the race again in 2002 with Media Puzzle while the French had their turn in 2010 and 2011 with Americain and Dunaden. Germany won the race in 2014 with Protectionist ridden by Ryan Moore while Japan took the Melbourne Cup home in 2006 with Delta Blues.
Remarkably, despite many attempts, an English trained horse has never prevailed in the ‘Race That Stops a Nation’. The next declaration stage for the Melbourne Cup is Friday 28th October when the 20 runners from the original 122 entries will be known.
It has to be considered unlikely that Gai Waterhouse’s Lord Macau will make the cut for the $6m contest but the gelding would be a fascinating runner. Currently a 100/1 shot (like last year’s winner Prince of Penzance), Lord Macau is a rare three-year-old entry and no three-year-old has won the Melbourne Cup since 1941.
Out of interest 35 of 155 Melbourne Cup favourites (22.5%) have won the race and 72 cup favourites have finished in the top three places.