Melbourne Cup 2017 Internationals thriving ahead of race

Posted by Sports News First on 5/11/2017
Filled in: Racing

Marmelo, who punters believe will be the first of the record-equalling 11 European horses over the line in the Melbourne Cup, is not the only overseas raider who has been thriving since arriving in Australia.

So too have the other international runners sharing his Werribee barn, Marmelo’s English trainer Hughie Morrison says.

Morrison points to Qewy’s win in the Bendigo Cup as a good sign for his quarantine stablemates running in the Melbourne Cup: Marmelo, Tiberian, Red Cardinal, Johannes Vermeer, Wicklow Brave and Wall of Fire.

“I think everyone who has horses in the first quarantine stables here has been extremely happy with the way their horses have gone,” Morrison said as the overseas raiders took to the track at Werribee Racecourse on Sunday.

“It’s good to see when the Godolphin horse won earlier this week, it’s like a stable in form and hopefully we’re all in form. Hopefully there’ll be no excuses.”

Morrison, on his first trip to Australia, and his former assistant Hugo Palmer, with Wall of Fire, are both hoping to become the first English trainer to win the Cup.

Palmer doesn’t mind if he’s the first or the 10th.

“I’d just love to win a Melbourne Cup. I want to win it this year but if I win it in 20 years’ time and I’m the 10th British trainer it will be no less thrilling than being the first.

“There’s been so many near misses with Red Cadeaux and Bauer and Purple Moon and others finishing second.

“It would be phenomenal to do it.”

Morrison and Palmer’s dreams may yet be shattered by Scotsman Iain Jardine.

His Ebor Handicap winner Nakeeta, the first Scottish-trained horse to run in a Melbourne Cup, has made the trip with no trouble at all, Jardine says.

“Fingers crossed we can take the Cup home to Scotland.

“It won’t be easy but we’re here with every chance.”

International victories in the Melbourne Cup have come from Ireland, Japan, France and Germany.

German trainer Andreas Wohler still has fond memories of Protectionist’s 2014 win.

After drawing barrier 24 for Red Cardinal, he is putting his faith in dual Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy.

“I think from 24 there has been only one winner,” Wohler said.

“We have the right jockey on board who knows how to do it, so probably I’ll leave it up to him.”

McEvoy, who won last year on Almandin, rode Brew to victory in 2000 from barrier 22.

French trainer Alain Couetil’s Tiberian jumps from barrier 23.

Ireland’s champion National Hunt trainer Willie Mullins has three Cup runners this year: the 2015 runner-up Max Dynamite, Wicklow Brave and Thomas Hobson.

Champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien is back chasing his first Cup with Johannes Vermeer, while his son Joseph has his first runners with US Army Ranger and Rekindling.