Thursday 22 August 2019

Aidan O'Brien attempts to end Melbourne Cup duck


Aidan O'Brien is double-handed in the Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday as he bids to win the race for the first time.

Gold Cup runner-up Kingfisher and Ladbrokes St Leger second Bondi Beach represent Ballydoyle, with connections happy with both charges.

"Kingfisher's in great order and Aidan's very happy with the horse, he's got a good temperament and I think he'll handle the big occasion," said Ballyodyle representative Tom Magnier.

"You couldn't ask for two better jockeys to be on the horses in Brett (Prebble riding Bondi Beach) and Colm (O'Donoghue on Kingfisher).

"The horses have adapted very well to the travel and they're both in great form, I think they both have great chances.

"The big thing is it's a Melbourne Cup and we'll need a lot of luck but we're delighted to be here."

Owner Rich Ricci is delighted to have the chance of winning such a race with the versatile Max Dynamite, who followed up his second in the Galway Hurdle by winning the Lonsdale Cup on the Flat at York.

"It's very exciting. It's an honour to have a horse in the Melbourne Cup - it may never happen again," he said.

"We're hopeful. We're not there for the laughs, we're there to try and win or make a good show of ourselves.

"He's in great nick and I'm excited."

Trainer Willie Mullins is delighted with the way Max Dynamite's condition has gone.

"We've been very happy with how the horse has settled in, and trained," said Ireland's champion jumps trainer.

"Lots of things have gone right for us, and the form is working out so we're here now and we're looking forward to it.

"In the Northumberland Plate, he came from a really wide draw for second (behind Quest For More).

"We thought that could win us the Lonsdale Cup, what we didn't expect was how well he won it.

"Then we decided that was our ticket to come across for the Melbourne Cup and we think everything has gone right."

After three near-misses, Ed Dunlop arguably has his best chance of claiming the prize when he saddles Red Cadeaux and Trip To Paris.

Red Cadeaux attempts to improve on his incredible record of having finished second three times in the 'race that stops a nation'.

Runner-up in 2011, 2012 and last year, this will be the nine-year-old's fifth successive appearance as he was eighth in 2013.

Once again he will be an outsider for glory, while his stablemate will be one of the favourites after the Ascot Gold Cup hero produced an eyecatching second in the Caulfield Cup on his Australian debut

Dunlop reports his duo to be going into the race in the form of their lives.

"Trip To Paris has come out of the Caulfield Cup very well. Although you always want to win, it was a fantastic trial for the Melbourne Cup as we know that he will be better over further," said the Newmarket trainer.

"Red Cadeaux has made a big step forward. We sent him in as good a condition as we ever have and he loves the individual attention that he receives on his travels, he really seems to blossom for it.

"He is now just £1,500 away from being the first British horse to earn £5million. While my staff deserve an enormous amount of credit for the fantastic job that they have done with him, so does his owner Ronnie Arculli, who is so often the forgotten man in all of this, for his bravery and patience."

Snow Sky was fifth in Caulfield Cup and his trainer Sir Michael Stoute feels his runner has plenty on his plate off top weight in such a competitive handicap.

"My horse is a 122-rated horse in England and he probably won't be good enough," said the Newmarket handler.

"I think he's a very suitable horse - he's got top-weight but he's entitled to have that.

"It's a tough thing to do to carry the top-weight.

" I thought the (Caulfield Cup) run was OK, the race just didn't go his way. When he should've been going forward, he couldn't get rolling because he's not an instant accelerator.

"I thought it was satisfactory, but he'll have to improve a bit."

The trainer is not concerned about starting from barrier 16.

"I wouldn't like to be too close to the inner or the outer, so I really can't complain with that draw of 16," he said.

"I love the race, for years I've wanted to come and be competitive in it.

"I think this horse will be competitive in it - he's got a good shot."

Godolphin have tried in vain to win the Melbourne Cup for many years but trainer Saeed bin Suroor is quietly confident Sky Hunter can be the horse to give connections that elusive victory.

"He's fine now, he just needs some luck, as usual," Bin Suroor told

"It's very important for Sheik Mohammed, for UAE racing (to win the Cup). We have been here many, many times, three times we have come second, we are looking to win it this time."

Michael Bell is hoping Big Orange, who picked up a brace of Group Two victories in the Princess of Wales's Stakes and Goodwood Cup can do himself justice.

"He probably would not have got a bid as a yearling if he had gone to the sales as he has walked his box in the past so he would have been announced as a box walker," said the Newmarket trainer.

"He's enormous and not particularly fashionably bred.

"There are 23 opponents, we are drawn on the stands rail and that might be a good or a bad thing.

"Who really knows. We are not confident but we are hopeful that he will perform with great credit."

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