Well, Cox Plate Day for 2019 is done and dusted.
Though the winner and the two runner-ups are not featured in the Melbourne Cup, some of the other gallopers are.. or maybe not, after a couple of below par performances.
The next few days leading up to VRC Derby Day might reveal the future plans of some high profile horses.
Will they or won’t they?
Let’s look at some casualties in the Melbourne Cup order of entry, as it stood at Thursday 24th October.
The hits keep coming
One of the major casualties from the Caulfield Cup was the Ian Williams trained Gold Mount.
Though he wasn’t far off the placegetters in eighth place, he pulled up lame.
It wasn’t until the following Monday that connections pulled the pin on his Melbourne Cup aspirations, and they went even further by announcing his immediate retirement.
Following on from that, the Ed Dunlop trained Red Verdon can’t seem to buy a trick when he comes to Australia.
Last year he had to pull out of the Melbourne Cup due to a foot issue.
This year the vets detected a minor crack or a fracture in one of his legs.
Serious enough to have to withdraw a second time from the big race.
He has been sent back to England to continue his rehab, though it is of a relatively minor state.
Muntahaa, the striking grey galloper who won the Ebor Handicap last year and finished 9th in Cross Counter’s cup, is another casualty.
His form has been way off his best since arriving in Australia last year.
His run in Wednesday’s Geelong Cup where he tailed the field in and apparently pulled up lame was enough to convince connections to pull the plug.
To compound issues for the Hayes and Dabernig operation, Group 1 winning 4 year old mare Qafila has also been withdrawn from the big race.
Recently coming to hand was news that Kiwi mare Glory Days has also been withdrawn from the cup after injuring a leg in a paddock mishap last week.
Her name was a notable emission from the Moonee Valley Gold Cup field, particularly after trainer Bill Thurlow declared that she’d need to show something to warrant a continuation with her spring campaign.
Instead she’ll be aimed for an autumn program both in New Zealand and maybe Australia once again in the new year.
After the Cox Plate day and races completed both in Melbourne and Sydney, jockey Glen Boss was later suspended and will miss the Melbourne Cup.
He was supposed to ride the Hayes and Dabernig trained import Constantinople, the early favourite for the cup, the ride will now likely go to Hong Kong based Joao Moreira.
Another Prince ready to be crowned?
Some good news for followers of Prince Of Arran.
Last Wednesday saw him take out the Geelong Cup. Along with a 1 kilo weight penalty, it lifted the English stayer to 23rd in the order of entry as at 24 October.
His position still isn’t safe by any means.
Finche is at 24th his position is even more procurious so it’s a waiting game right down to Melbourne Cup eve.
However I believe their positions are safe because there’s likely to be a significant number of horses withdrawn by next week, judging by what I am hearing coming down the wire (see below).
Four years ago we had Prince Of Penzance win the big race, could another Prince take the crown in 2019?
Meanwhile, Aidan O’Brien’s gun galloper Hunting Horn sounded his arrival in Australia with a resounding win in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup.
His credentials firm up and his Melbourne Cup slot is safe as he is 20th in the order of entry.
The decision becomes as to who will write him, as both Aidan and his son Joseph have three runners each lined up in the race.
English jockey, Ryan Moore timed that to perfection to win the Moonee Valley Gold Cup. pic.twitter.com/0O0nbuSQyC
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) October 26, 2019
With a week to go and news filtering through on the Monday after the Cox Plate weekend.
More horses have now been withdrawn, the third lot of nominations is now down to 42.
The withdrawals include:
On the Monday 28th, some of the big gun gallopers from England were vet inspected at Ballarat.
A week out from the big race, Ispolini and Marmelo showed signs of lameness according to the vets which could be of a minor concern, while Cross Counter trained freely and looks bright and healthy for his return engagement at Flemington.
This Wednesday sees the running of the Bendigo Cup, one horse who needs to make an impression is the English stayer Raheen House.
If he wins the question then becomes does he incur a weight penalty to get into the Melbourne Cup?
3 other contenders who are a little bit down the list to make the final field of 24 next Tuesday include Brimham Rocks, Sully, and Patrick Erin.
Meanwhile on Saturdays VRC Derby Day, the Hotham Handicap features 28 nominations of which a handful really need to win as it is a free lottery ticket to get into the final field for next Tuesday.
The Chosen One
Sir Charles Road
Patrick Erin (if he starts, ref Bendigo Cup)
Vow And Declare
Brimham Rocks (if he starts, ref Bendigo Cup)
With a week to go, no doubt there will be ample drama that will unfold before the race is run.
We could possibly see more withdrawals of horses, there’s another few race days where jockeys could get suspended and who knows what the vets will do?
The letter is a mystery in itself.
For some punters who have got big money invested on some of these horses, they will be waiting with bated breath and bitten fingernails hoping that their investment gets to the start line safely.
We will get another report out immediately after VRC Derby Day, once the final field is announced, jockeys declared and barrier draws known.
We will also aim to get a weather update as well from The Bureau of Meteorology, so that we know what we’re dealing with by Tuesday.
That’s all for this weeks Melbourne Cup Watch Report.
Keep checking in with Kruzey.com.au for more, as we count down to the first Tuesday in November, which is just around the corner!