Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien’s bid for Melbourne Cup with Anthony Van Dyck and Tiger Moth alive despite mixed barrier draw

Master Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien will have two of the Melbourne Cup’s hottest favourites running on Tuesday, but their fortunes have been shaped by a mixed barrier draw.

Anthony Van Dyck drew gate three, while Tiger Moth claimed barrier 23. After the draw Tiger Moth lost outright favouritism, drifting from $7 to $8, as stablemate Anthony Van Dyck firmed from $9 into $8.

That pair joined the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet, who drew barrier 14, as equal favourites.

The TAB’s Adam Hamilton has predicted Anthony Van Dyck is likely to start favourite as a result of the draw.

“Of the three most-fancied runners, Anthony Van Dyck was the best served at the draw and he’s likely to start favourite as a result,” Hamilton said.

Last year Surprise Baby drew barrier 20 when he finished an unlucky fifth, but this year drew favourably in barrier seven and is considered by bookmakers a good chance.

The Danny O’Brien-trained Vow And Declare won the Cup from barrier 21 last year and has drawn barrier four for his title defence.

O’Brien’s three other runners drew out with Miami Bound in barrier 13, Russian Camelot in barrier 16 and King Of Leogrance gate 18.

Omen punters would have noted that Jamie Kah, who rides Prince Of Arran, drew barrier one, which was the same alley as the only successful woman jockey Michelle Payne won from when she scored aboard Prince Of Penzance in 2015.

Joseph O’Brien’s Melbourne Cup starters Master Of Reality and Twilight Payment drew alongside each other in barriers 11 and 12 respectively.

Star jockey James McDonald was thrilled with Finche’s barrier draw in six.

“From that draw he should be able to get into a good rhythm. I should be able to put him in a good spot and there should be no excuses,” McDonald said.

The Chris Waller-trained Finche will be contesting his third Melbourne Cup having finished fourth in 2018 and seventh last year.

Finche is a $15 chance while stablemate and Caulfield Cup winner Verry Elleegant is at $13 after coming up with barrier 15.


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Michael O’Brien’s no-confidence motion against ‘dangerous’ Daniel Andrews fails, Victorian COVID-19 inquiry extended

The Victorian Opposition Leader has labelled Premier Daniel Andrews “dangerous and arrogant” during a failed bid to oust him from office with a no-confidence motion in Parliament.

Michael O’Brien’s move was labelled a “stunt” by Mr Andrews, and was easily defeated 44-23 during a marathon sitting of Parliament that stretched to 9:00pm.

The Opposition can only introduce one no–confidence motion of this kind in a parliamentary term, and it was doomed to fail due to Labor’s strong majority in the Lower House.

But before the motion, Mr O’Brien said there were a number of Labor MPs frustrated with how the Premier was operating, and he called on them to cross the floor.

“It’s quite clear that a lot of Labor MPs are privately very, very critical of the Government,” he said.

“The question is — are they prepared to put their money where their mouth is? Are they prepared to put their vote where the interests of Victorians are?”

When introducing the motion, Mr O’Brien delivered a scathing speech, describing the Government as “arrogant and incompetent” and “a danger to Victorians”.

“It gives me no joy to move this motion of no confidence of Premier Daniel Andrews and his ministers,” Mr O’Brien told Parliament. “But today in Victoria, circumstances are far from usual.”

Michael O’Brien hits out at ‘cavalcade of cover-ups’

Mr O’Brien said the Premier’s handling of hotel quarantine and the subsequent second wave had been a failure, which had let the state down “like no other government has done before”.

Michael O’Brien said Victorians had been served up a “litany of lies”.(AAP: James Ross)

“We are the live music capital, yet the music has stopped. We have the best dining in the nation, but restaurants and bars are closed.

“This is the legacy of the Andrews Government’s mishandling of the response.”

In the wake of the resignation of Mr Andrews’ top bureaucrat, Chris Eccles, Mr O’Brien called on the COVID-19 Hotel Inquiry to re-examine key witnesses.

“Victorians want answers, and they demand answers because Victorians have been the ones to pay the price for this Government’s failure,” he said.

“Have Victorians seen the truth? No. They’ve had an avalanche of amnesia, a cavalcade of cover-ups and a litany of lies.”

Mr O’Brien also said Mr Andrews had “taken [Victorians] for fools” after denying the Australian Defence Force was on offer to guard the quarantine hotels.

In response to the motion, Deputy Premier James Merlino said Mr O’Brien had launched a “tasteless, heartless stunt”.

“He’s not a man concerned by the health of Victorians — he’s a man obsessed with his own popularity within his own party,” Mr Merlino told Parliament.

Earlier, Mr Andrews criticised the Opposition’s “cheap politics”.

“I’m not concerned by it and I won’t be playing it because it doesn’t work against this virus,” he said.

Commissioner could face more questions over changed evidence

Victorian emergency management commissioner Andrew Crisp is among senior public servants also under pressure from the Opposition.

He could now be questioned before a parliamentary inquiry for a second time over his role in the state’s coronavirus response.

There had been calls for Mr Crisp to be re-examined after he retracted evidence he gave at the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearings on the Government’s COVID-19 response in August.

Victoria's Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp stands in front of a lectern.
Andrew Crisp changed evidence he gave about briefing the Emergency Services Minister.(ABC News: Sarah Maunder, file photo)

In his testimony, he claimed he gave regular briefings to his direct minister, Lisa Neville, on March 27 and 28, when the hotel quarantine program was being established.

Ms Neville contradicted his evidence when she told the separate independent COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry that she did not receive any briefings from Mr Crisp in the early stages of the program.

Mr Crisp then altered his written statement to say he did not brief her on those dates.

The committee now says it will extend its inquiry, which could mean Mr Crisp will be asked further questions about the change in evidence.

“The additional hearings will enable the committee to get supplementary evidence relating to the response to this ongoing pandemic,” committee chair Lizzie Blandthorn said in a statement.

“There will also be a further opportunity for written submissions to be presented that can assist the committee in examining the various aspects of the response.”

The deadline for submissions to the PAEC inquiry has now been extended to November 30.

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