Here’s what many of the key connections are saying ahead of the 2020 Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
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FOX SPORTS’ SPRING CARNIVAL HOMEPAGE
TJ COMERFORD (AIDAN O’BRIEN’S STABLE REPRESENTATIVE) – ANTHONY VAN DYCK, TIGER MOTH
“Anthony Van Dyck has probably a better draw, Tiger Moth is drawn the one from the outside. It’s better that way around than Anthony Van Dyck being out there again. These are the draws you get but I still think that Tiger Moth still has his chance from out there. It’s not the end of the world.
“This morning they worked over 1500 metres on the sand. Hugh Bowman is coming in tomorrow to sit on Anthony Van Dyck to do the same again tomorrow.”
Compared to previous teams they’ve brought out: “It’s hard to compare them, but we’ve always brought horses that we thought would do well here. Horses that would have well in English St Legers. Anthony Van Dyck is an English Derby winner and Tiger Moth has run second in an Irish Derby at only his third run. At the same time his last run was an impressive win in a Group 3 at Leopardstown.
“The ground seems all in their favour as well. They’re two good chances.
“I wouldn’t like to separate them. Anthony Van Dyck is a class horse but he has to give a lot of weight away to Tiger Moth. But then Tiger Moth is drawn 23 so he’ll have to be able to negotiate from out there – I’m sure Kerrin McEvoy will have a plan. We probably don’t know enough about the three-year-old, really, but I do know that he’s going well enough while here and he’s doing everything right and he’s enjoying himself – he’s fresh and he’s well and he’s fit.
“I just think they’re two good chances. I wouldn’t have one over the other even if you give me a free bet there I might struggle. Can I do a reverse forecast?”
FOX SPORTS’ MELBOURNE CUP SWEEP GENERATOR
JOCKEY HUGH BOWMAN (PRE-BARRIER DRAW) – ANTHONY VAN DYCK
“He’s certainly one of the leading chances, there’s no doubt about that. There’s two ways of looking at it, I guess.
“You could say he’s got too much weight. If it’s not run to suit, the weight will be an issue, but if he gets the right run on a nice pace, and it’s a genuinely run race, that will suit him. I think he can win with that weight. I just hope that don’t go as slow as they did in the Derby.”
MARK POWER (JOSEPH O’BRIEN’S STABLE REPRESENTATIVE) – MASTER OF REALITY, TWILIGHT PAYMENT
On their pair’s work on Sunday: “They didn’t do anything too serious. Nice strong building canter. They both did it within themselves.
“Perfect. Couldn’t be any happier. Happy with the draws yesterday. We’ll probably roll forward from there. Horses outside of us, Miami Bound and Sir Dragonet, we probably couldn’t ask for a better draw.
Do barriers play a part? Plus comments on other runners: “For Tiger Moth, Vow And Declare was drawn similarly last year so that’s not to say that they can’t be overcome. Three-year-olds from the northern hemisphere, they seem to be taking some beating lately. Rekindling, Cross Counter and Il Paradiso – I suppose, they have a great record in the race.
Horse to beat: “You’d have to think that Anthony Van Dyck would have a great chance. He’s the class horse in the race even though it is a race with plenty of depth in it. Tiger Moth being a northern hemisphere three-year-old, they’re two of them to fear.”
ALED BEECH (CHARLIE FELLOWES’ STABLE REPRESENTATIVE) – PRINCE OF ARRAN
On Prince Of Arran’s work: “Yesterday he had a breeze, he felt good. Just asked him to stretch along the last two furlongs he rode out nicely. Felt good this morning.”
On barrier one: “Happy enough. It’s much better than drawing out wide like we have the previous few years. It just gives Jamie more options and makes her life easier.”
“He’s feeling great in himself. What he feels like at home, he feels even better here.
What makes the horse different here: “Honestly, I’m not sure what it is. He just thrives. He loves the climate, the style of racing. It suits him down to the ground. The racecourses over here, he just loves the Australian style of racing.”
How special winning a Melbourne Cup after quarantine? “It’d make it so worth it. If we could win it would be incredible. You think about it over and over in your head (winning).
TRAINER ANDREAS WOHLER – ASHRUN
Ashrun after Saturday’s win: “Really well. I’m surprised the way he is. Such a race takes out of it (takes something out of the horse) but he’s eaten up, looks great. Very happy.
On the quick back-up: “Normally you don’t do that but we didn’t have any other choice but to run him yesterday. Lucky he went really well.”
On wide barrier: “We shouldn’t have any interference for the first 1000 metres” (laughing).
On his confidence in the horse for him to come here despite COVID obstacles: “We always thought that he might get into the Cup straight away but unfortunately we didn’t so we had to run yesterday. That worked out, luckily.
“It’s a strange journey these days. I’m in awe of the Cup so much – we’ve had great success – and when you have a good runner you want to be there.
“The way he ran yesterday then he should have a chance of being in very good money.”
DAVE CASEY (WILLIE MULLINS’ STABLE REPRESENTATIVE) – STRATUM ALBION
“We’ve been delighted with him, very good. He did his last work yesterday – delighted with him. He’s got a decent enough draw so hoping for a bit of luck with him on Tuesday.
“I think in the last week he’s come on plenty. Barrier nine is good, gives us options and there’s a couple of fancied horses around him. Anthony Van Dyck isn’t far away, so is Surprise Baby, that’ll give us options to go forward or go back.
“Anthony Van Dyck deserves to be favourite – English Derby winner and he ran so well in the Caulfield Cup. The likes of Prince Of Arran, brilliant form here. His (Stratum Albion) form doesn’t stand out for a lot of it – mixing with jumping as well. We don’t mind being the underdog.
“He’s a horse that can get quite stuffy and takes a lot of work but he’s enjoying it out there. Very happy with his work out there.
What it would mean to win a Melbourne Cup: “It’d be unbelievable. Obviously Willie has gone very close in the past. It’d be amazing to win the race and to be associated with Willie doing that would be brilliant. Hopefully we might do it on Tuesday and if we don’t we’ll keep trying.”
Jordan Childs – how many calls did he make to get the ride: “I’ll say three. But I’ve been watching him. I think it was Damian Lane who recommended him and I saw him riding Surprise Baby, who I fancied last year, who I’ve been watching him riding. Obviously with two weeks in quarantine in Sydney there wasn’t a lot to do so I’ve been watching plenty of racing.
“I thought he’s been riding well and with good confidence. He’s got the pedigree there as well. I think ‘Stratum’ will give him a good ride and hopefully it’ll all work out.”
TRAINER CHRIS WALLER – VERRY ELLEEGANT, FINCHE
On Verry Elleegant’s re-handicap after Caulfield: “It’s a concern but it’s not something to dwell on, it’s probably an honour, to tell you the truth,” he said.
“We have to remember what she has won and that’s the reason she has that weight.
“She is a very good horse with a big heart but she will need that heart on the first Tuesday in November.”
“I’ve always said the Caulfield Cup is traditionally the best lead-up race,” Waller said.
“It might have changed a little bit in recent years but at least we have the Caulfield Cup winner going into the Melbourne Cup.
“For the last three seasons she has won over 2400m at Group 1 level and I don’t think the distance is a problem, although we have to make sure she switches off and settles.
“We respect every runner but let’s hope there is not a superstar in the race to beat her.”
“Finche hasn’t had much luck in his two Melbourne Cup runs,” Waller said.
“The effort told last year when he just had to do a bit too much work and, from memory, it wasn’t much better the year before.”
“If he can draw a barrier and get a nice run he will be fighting out the finish.
“I had a look at him on a video call the other day and he’s very fit.”
This appeared on Punters.com.au and was republished with consent.