We’ve had a few days off since our last report from Saturday’s VRC Derby Day.
Lots to reflect on including the weather and the Stewards giving the jockeys an absolute grilling before the race telling them they were on watch regarding the whip usage rule.
We had a bit of rain throughout Victoria on Saturday, Sunday and Monday but thankfully by the time Cup Day came around it had dried off slightly.
As for the pre-race, there were no dramas in the birdcage.
According to racing.com’s Jayne Ivil, she assessed the four-year-old Vow And Declare to be the pick of the yard, and he duly prevailed, winning the race in a nail biter.
Having run an unlucky second in the Caulfield Cup two weeks ago, Vow And Declare came into the betting ratings because of that run and as the form line of those two races came into focus, there was much in the history books to determine that a pattern was apparent.
Unfortunately his barrier draw of 21 somewhat nullified the excitement of actually getting into the race, because he wasn’t a certainty with a week to go.
And as reported in last Saturday’s report, those horses that were drawn the outside barriers either had to come across early or swing in behind the rest of the field as they came down the home straight the first time.
In Vow And Declare’s case, Craig Williams bought him across to the front of the pack by the time they passed the winning post, and from there he had a handy inside rails position all the way through to the end.
By the time the field had entered the straight it looked like it was going to be an Irish and English benefit show.
But not to be. Master jockey Frankie Dettori looked the winner coming down the home stretch on Master Of Reality.
All eyes were also on Prince Of Arran who was coming out of the ruck.
At this point, Vow And Declare was still tucked away in third spot but he fought like a tiger on the inside rail and with clear space ahead of him, managed to peg back Master Of Reality and the fast flying Il Paradiso sliding in two off the fence on the inside of Master Of Reality and copping a check in the process.
Good runs also from Surprise Baby and Mer De Glacé who were both coming down the outside at a rate of knots, finishing fifth and sixth.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) November 5, 2019
After the race, the jockeys were asked about their rides and how it went.
Most of them complained about the muddling and slow pace of the race, which effectively ended the chances of many horses.
Even during the race, commentator Matt Hill described the pace as muddling as they went out of the home straight the first time.
It was much like the 2018 Caulfield Cup where horses just sat for the first mile and cranked on the pace with 800 metres to go.
‘Sit and sprint’ I think is what the term is called.
There were three significant outcomes of the race.
The first being a protest lodged by the fourth horse Il Paradiso against the second horse Master Of Reality.
It was alleged that Frankie Dettori cramped the room of the inside horse Il Paradiso and as a result of the protest saw Master Of Reality demoted to fourth, with Prince Of Arran promoted to second and Il Paradiso promoted to third.
Dettori was suspended for the ride and was outed for nine days.
Of course Australian social media immediately went to work giving Dettori a hard time especially after his notorious ride on Max Dynamite in the 2015 Cup.
The second saw Prince Of Arran’s jockey Michael Walker fined $10,000 and given a 7 race meeting suspension for his over use of the whip in the last 100 metres.
The limit is five, Walker used the whip twelve times.
And this was after a Stewards had issued a warning prior to the race.
Walker’s reply was classic.
‘This is not a maiden at Echuca, this is the Melbourne Cup. I’m trying to win it.’
Sadly the third incident was to do with the Hayes, Hayes and Dabernig galloper Rostropovich, who pulled up at the end of the field with what looked like a serious pelvic injury.
He was immediately taken to the UoM/Werribee Equine Centre but at this point, and at the time of writing we don’t have a result or an outcome as yet.
Hopefully he pulls through much like Kings Will Dream did last year after the Cox Plate.
Latest developments looks like he will be OK (as at Tuesday 5th Nov, 6.50pm).
This from Racenet.com.au:
“After receiving initial veterinary care, the horse was transported to the University of Melbourne Equine Centre for further assessment.
“The David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained gelding is in a stable condition, comfortable and receiving the best veterinary care.
Rostropovich will be confined to box rest for the near future and will be closely monitored over the coming days by veterinary staff.”
As for the outcome in relation to the Australian industry, no doubt it was a shot in the arm which the local industry needed in terms of its future staying prospects.
I guess it also gives a guide that the Australian industry is not going to sit back and watch the Irish, British and other European countries come over here and lay claim to the great race.
Now all we need is some revitalization of the Kiwi staying industry to complete the picture.
So after a thrilling finish and conclusion to this year’s race, that’s all for this final Melbourne Cup Watch Report.
Thanks for sticking with us during the year, it’s been an interesting ride full of peaks and troughs and excitement and disappointment.
But at the end of the day an Australian horse won it, and an O’Brien won it, but it wasn’t Aidan nor Joseph. It was Danny. See you next time.