THE CUP RUNNETH OVER
It was all that it was cracked up to be. A special Melbourne Cup befitting a very special milestone. The 150th running of the 2010 Melbourne Cup will live in the memory of those fortunate enough to have been at Flemington on that first Tuesday in November.
It had all the vital ingredients – from the legendary Bart Cummings aiming at his 13th win in the race with a very special and precocious racehorse – the champion So You Think, coming off a memorable season of outstanding weight for age victories, attempting to join other hallowed equine legends by adding his name to the roll call of Melbourne Cup victors.
No other horse had won back to back Cox Plates as a two and three year old – his birthday is in November. And when he parades, he lets you know that he is centre stage.No theatrics or dummy spits – he is far too much of a class act for that. He is there to be admired. No wonder Bart fell in love with him when he first cast an eye on him at the Karaka sale ring in New Zealand.
And talking of the master, Bart is just the most amazing trainer the world has ever seen. To win one of the world’s very greatest horse race a dozen times is a feat that will never be equalled. Just like Makybe Diva’s hat-trick of Melbourne Cup wins. The man is pure genius.
But the 150th running of the Cup brought together more than just Bart Cummings and So You Think. Sheikh Mohammed graced the Flemington turf in person and walked through the tunnel with his security entourage to the parade ring to see his two runners Holberg and Campanologist be saddled up before returning to the mounting yard to greet his two jockeys – the legendary Frankie Dettori and his number one Australian jockey Kerrin McEvoy as they prepared to mount their respective rides in the race that stops a nation.
For Sheikh Mohammed and his Godolphin team it was not to be. Victory in the race that they covet so much and for so long was once again to elude them But they will be back again next year. And they will keep coming back until they win this amazing two mile handicap.
The winner of the 150th running of the Melbourne Cup proved beyond any shadow of doubt what an amazing international race it had become. Americain, bred in the US, trained by the Aga Khan’s champion trainer, Frenchman Alain du Royer Dupre, ridden by a Hong Kong based Frenchman Gerald Mosse and owned by two prominent Australian racing tragics Gerry Ryan and Kevin Bamford, did as much for the Melbourne Cup internationally as Vintage Crop did when he became the first International runner to win the race.
It was Royer Dupre’s first runner in the big race. It was his first trip to Flemington and one which the soft spoken Frenchman will never forget. He was a reluctant visitor. “Australia is so far away” he said. Bet you it won’t be so far away next time. He turned out Americain in magnificent fashion and if he’d been pushed out could have won by another couple of lengths. Royer Dupre knows what it takes to train Group One winners. He’s made it an art form in Europe and beyond.
And what can be said of Gerald “The Swordsman” Mosse that hasn’t been said already. Like his compatriot, Alain du Royer Dupre, Mosse’s riding CV is littered with Group One wins all over the globe. He can mix it with the best. He is a superb tactician, has a wonderful sit on a horse and a great pair of hands. He excels in black type races.
Put him on a good horse and he has no peer. His ride on Americain was classic Mosse. Patient, clear of the risk of being cluttered up and his timing was with Rolex like precision. He was effusive in his praise of the Melbourne Cup and Australia’s world class spring racing carnival. Mosse like most of the international will be back. They’re so hooked on it. And who can blame them!
MARK PLAYER ACES THEM AGAIN
It didn’t take long for Hong Kong International racing scout Mark Player to strike. Literally within minutes of the Melbourne Cup being run and won, Player had connections of Americain’s tickets booked for the International Vase on December 12. And which is Mark Player’s great strength: His connections and what a roller-deck he must have.
It was some achievement- and only Player could have pulled it off. No Melbourne Cup winner has ever participated in Hong Kong’s International race day. And with the anticipated participation of some of the world’s greatest sprinters, milers, middle distance and staying horses, Americain’s presence will add another dimension to International day, one which we hope the HKJC will market and promote and not with silly buffoons dressed as horses.
We can only hope that the connections of Black Caviar and Hay List can be persuaded to follow Americain and set up what could be the greatest sprint race ever between them and Sacred Kingdom.
But, in the meantime, hats off to Player for this marketing coup. This promises to be a fantastic opportunity for racing enthusiasts to not only see stars, but also stripes in a horse called Americain.
YIKES! TERRY BAILEY GETS UP MICK GOODIE’S SKIRT!
Flemington Track Manager Mick Goodie, left no doubt at his displeasure with Stewards downgrade of the Flemington track rating from a morning Dead 4 to a pre-race Slow 6, before any rain had fallen.
The downgrade of Flemington by two rating points without any rain falling had tongues wagging. And it wasn’t the only issue that got up Mick Goodie’s skirt. He also questioned, and quite rightly, why the track was not downgraded further after two heavy showers of rain which fell during the day.
Many jockeys felt that the track had deteriorated to a heavy 8 rating, a rating that Goodie posted on Wednesday morning. As one prominent Melbourne trainer commented privately Chief Steward Terry Bailey is well on his way to becoming Victoria’s answer to Ray Murrihy and we are betting that he’ll be “flying Emirates” on a one way ticket pretty soon.
IS THIS THE END FOR “THE PUMPER”?
The news that Jimmy “the pumper” Cassidy has been suspended for three months after testing positive to a prohibited substance at the Warwick Farm race meeting on October 4 has rocked the racing world.
Cassidy and controversy have been magnets for just about as long as “the pumper” has been in Australia. Clashes with stewards and trainers, tipping to punters, stewards inquiries, friendships with “colourful racing identities” and suspensions have been too numerous to mention.
Even on Melbourne Cup day, his ride in the big race on the Gai Waterhouse trained Once Were Wild raised the hackles of many punters, who could not understand the pace set by the horse for a major part of the race.
Cassidy, who according to many, is in the twilight of his career showed he had lost none of his renowned judgment and vigor landing a double on Derby day.
However. whether he can bounce back from yet another self-inflicted setback remains to be seen.