With 41 British Classics and over 900 Group/Graded winners in all four corners of the globe, Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has won just about everything there is to win in the sport of horse racing. But despite his success all over the world, one of the major races still missing from his glittering CV is the Melbourne Cup — Australia’s premier flat contest.
The wealthy race, worth over £2.5m to the winner, has attracted more-and-more overseas runners in recent times — with Aidan’s son Joseph O’Brien and Godolphin’s Charlie Appleby enjoying personal successes Down Under in the last five years — and the master of Ballydoyle looks set to send a strong contingent on the 10,000-mile trip to Melbourne later this year in a bid to land that maiden win.
At the time of writing, O’Brien — who opted against sending any of his horses to Flemington last year — has six potential entries in the running for the two-mile contest. So, as the 52-year-old ramps up his attempt to win his first Melbourne Cup, let’s take a look at some of the horses he could opt to send on the lengthy trip — several of which will be fancied in the betting online with Betfair.
The possible leader of O’Brien’s pack, Changingoftheguard has enjoyed a good season so far this summer. The three-year-old won a Maiden on the all-weather at Dundalk on his reappearance before stunning Appleby’s New London in the Group 3 Chester Vase Stakes. A fifth-place finish in the Derby followed, but that was probably a fair reflection of his chances at Epsom and he bounced back with a Group 2 in the King Edward VII at Royal Ascot.
After a fine season as a two-year-old last year, winning his four career races — including a Group 3 and a Group 2 — before finishing second on his final appearance of the campaign in the Group 1 Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh, a lot was expected of Point Lonsdale this season.
However, the now three-year-old had a seasonal reappearance to forget in the 2,000 Guineas — finishing a disappointing 10th of 15 runners in the first British Classic of the season. He hasn’t been seen since, but a crack at the autumn highlights is in the offing. It will be interesting to see how the horse would fare over two miles though, as he’s yet to be tested any further than a mile.
A horse who is quickly becoming more favoured in the online sports tips, United Nations’ performance last time out has resulted in his odds shortening for the Melbourne Cup. The lightly raced three-year-old was fourth on his reappearance in the Listed Blue Riband Trail at Epsom in April, but was back in the winner’s enclosure last time out for the first time since his debut — landing the Derby Trial at Lingfield.
Once considered a Derby contender, United Nations hasn’t been seen since May and one can only assume that O’Brien is prepping him for a crack at some of the end-of-season highlights and that includes the Melbourne Cup. His win in that Derby Trial over 1m3½f is perhaps a promising sign that he might be able to stay the two miles.
Five-year-old Serpentine, Waterville and King Of The Castle are O’Brien’s three other early entries, but they are not as fancied in the ante-post market.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn