2017

Rekindling Wins Gr1 Melbourne Cup

Wednesday, 8th November 2017

At Flemington in Melbourne, Coolmore's deceased dual Derby-winning shuttler & 6-time Gr1 victor High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells-Kasora, by Dashaan) celebrated an elite race success when 4YO UK-bred entire Rekindling (High Chaparral-Sitara, by Salse) defied his inexperience when unleashing a strong run down the middle of the famous Flemington straight to win the $6.2 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) for 3YO+, narrowly defeating fellow Lloyd Williams-owned galloper Johannes Vermeer & French-bred stayer Max Dynamite. Rekindling, who became the first 3YO (a 3YO by northern hemisphere time) to win the Cup since 1941, improved his record to 4 wins (including the Gr2 Curragh Cup & Gr3 Ballysax Stakes) and 2 placings (including the Gr2 Irish St Leger Trial) from 10 starts for $4,120,149 in earnings. For jockey Corey Brown, it was his second Melbourne Cup win after Shocking in 2009. The 157th running of the Melbourne Cup will be remembered as a special one for both owner Lloyd Williams and young trainer Joseph O'Brien. If Rekindling's win is any guide then O'Brien, the 24YO son of Irish master trainer Aidan, has a very bright career ahead of him indeed as he has achieved what his famous father hitherto has not; that is, win Australia's most famous race. And he has done so at his very first attempt, no less. O’Brien junior also proved that, contrary to popular wisdom, you don’t have to give a foreign horse a lead-up run in Australia prior to the Melbourne Cup. The only other international raider to win the Cup without a lead-up run in Australia was Vintage Crop way back in 1993. As for Williams, he confirmed his status as the most successful owner in Melbourne Cup history with his sixth Cup win. Rekindling joins Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2007), Green Moon (2012), and Almandin (2016) as winners for the Macedon Lodge principal. Williams said the victory was all the sweeter for being able to share it with the young O'Brien. "I'm absolutely thrilled," an emotional Williams told racing.com. "To be able to win this race with Aidan's son is very special, I've known the family a long time….it's a dream, it really is."

rekindling

Rekindling (image: Steve Hart)

Moreira & Mullins Reunite for Cup

Friday, 13th October 2017

Star Hong Kong-based jockey Joao Moreira has been booked to ride the Willie Mullins-trained Thomas Hobson in the Melbourne Cup. The Mullins and Moreira combination has gone desperately close to winning Australia's most famous race the last two years running, with Max Dynamite finishing second to Prince Of Penzance in 2015 and Heartbreak City runner-up to Alamndin last year. Mullins also has Max Dynamite and Wicklow Brave entered in the Melbourne Cup. "Thomas Hobson and Max Dynamite are over there and the plan is for both to run," Mullins told Racing Post. "Joao Moreira is booked to ride Thomas Hobson. We haven't made a booking for Max Dynamite just yet." He added: "Wicklow Brave runs in the Caulfield Cup a week on Saturday and we'll see how things go with him before deciding whether he will run." The $6.25 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) will be run at Flemington on Tuesday, 7 November.

Melbourne Cup Nominations

Wednesday, 30th August 2017

A total of 140 horses have been nominated for the $6 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup, with 33 of those emanating from the Northern Hemisphere, reports racing.com. Among the international entries were Ebor Handicap winner Nakeeta, Grand Prix de Deauville winner Tiberian, Belmont Gold Cup winner Red Cardinal, Prix de Kergolay winner Marmelo, Order Of St George and Curragh Cup winner Rekindling – the latter two both owned by Lloyd Williams. Irish master Willie Mullins has once again entered Wicklow Brave and last year’s Cup runner-up Max Dynamite. Melbourne Cup nominations are up 16 from 124 last year. First declarations are due by midday on 10 October. Click here to view the full list of Melbourne Cup nominations.

Melbourne Cup Aim For Max Dynamite

Thursday, 16th February 2017

Owner Rich Ricci says Max Dynamite is unlikely to compete at next month's Cheltenham Festival, with the Melbourne Cup in November his ultimate aim this year, reports Sky Sports. The Willie Mullins-trained 7YO, who was beaten just half a length when second to Prince of Penzance in the 2015 Melbourne Cup, has not raced since finishing tenth in the Gr1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June. Ricci said the Puchestown Festival at the end of April is a more likely target before embarking on another trip to Australia later in the year. "I'm often asked about him and I'm happy to report that he's fine, back in training and riding out," he said. "It's not certain that he won't get to Cheltenham but it's probably a bit unlikely, and he should be ready for Punchestown on the way towards getting ready for a Flat campaign." He added: "The Melbourne Cup, in which he finished second two years ago, is the ultimate aim. Getting him back to Flemington this winter would be an extraordinary thrill."

2016

Mullins Mounting Another Cup Bid

Tuesday, 13th September 2016

Meanwhile, Irish trainer Willie Mullins is confident Wicklow Brave can be competitive in the Melbourne Cup later in the year, reports NZ Racing Desk. Fourth with Simenon in 2013 and runner-up with Max Dynamite last year, Mullins is keen on a return trip to Australia with Wicklow Brave who caused an upset when defeating the highly regarded Order Of St George in the Gr1 Irish St Leger at The Curragh on Sunday. "He goes on the ground and he's a hardy beast at this stage of his career," Mullins said. "He'll take whatever Melbourne throws at him and he's used to travelling as well, which is a huge help when coming from Europe." Wicklow Brave and Order Of St George are both quoted at $17 for the Melbourne Cup.

Payne Ruled Out For Penzance Ride

Thursday, 11th August 2016

Prince Of Penzance's owners have revealed that Michelle Payne will not be aboard Prince Of Penzance when the Melbourne Cup winner resumes in the Gr1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 27 August. Part-owner John Richards explained that the ownership group believed Payne was not ready to return to competitive race riding following her well publicised race fall in May. "The horse will be running in the Memsie Stakes and she won't be riding," Richards told racing.com. "The major reason is that she is not race fit and we have concerns over her well-being." Payne expressed her disappointment with the decision by posting a tweet on Twitter which has since been removed. Prince Of Penzance became the equal-longest priced winner in Melbourne Cup history when he defeated Max Dynamite and Criterion at odds of 100-1 last year. His victory will also be remembered for the heroics of Payne, who became the first female jockey in history to win Australia's most famous race.

prince of penzance

Prince Of Penzance (image: Mark Gatt)

Payne Gets Green Light From Penzance Owners

Wednesday, 3rd August 2016

The owners of Prince Of Penzance say they are happy for Michelle Payne to be reunited with last year's Melbourne Cup winner when he defends his crown later in the spring. However, just as they did last year, the ownership group will leave that important decision up to trainer Darren Weir who will no doubt be closely monitoring Payne's progress following her well publicised race fall in May. "We would love to have her back on but it will depend on how she is coming along...it is hard to measure that," co-owner John Richards told Melbourne's Radio Sport National. "She is certainly working very hard to have herself in the best condition." He added: "I think the owners group will leave the decision up to Darren to decide if she is up to the elite level to ride in this year's cup." As for Prince Of Penzance, Richards said the 7YO is in excellent order and confirmed he is likely to open his spring campaign in the Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on 10 September. "He is in wonderful order," said Richards. "The challenge will be to keep him in that condition until the end of his preparation." Prince Of Penzance became the equal-longest priced winner in Melbourne Cup history when he defeated Max Dynamite and Criterion at odds of 100-1. His victory will also be remembered for the heroics of Payne, who became the first female jockey in history to win Australia's most famous race.

Melbourne Cup Runner-up To Resume Tonight

Thursday, 26th May 2016

Last year's Melbourne Cup runner-up Max Dynamite is set to resume in the Gr3 Henry II Stakes (16 furlongs) at Sandown in the UK tonight. Trainer Willie Mullins has revealed that Max Dynamite's major targets are the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and a return trip to Australia for another shot at the Melbourne Cup in November. "He's in good form," Mullins told At The Races. "I had hoped to get him out before now actually, but we'll let him take in this. The ground should be ideal for him, which is a bonus. The two obvious targets we're looking at, all going well after this, are the Gold Cup and the Melbourne Cup." He added: "How hard it will be to get him to peak in June and then November again, I don't know, but that's what we're doing. He has to show us that he's in the same sort of form that he was last season and then he needs to maintain that."

Historic Cup Duo Reunited In Trial

Thursday, 28th April 2016

Michelle Payne was back aboard her New Zealand-bred Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance for just the second time since their historic victory when partnering him in a trial at Terang on Tuesday, reports NZ Racing Desk. Trainer Darren Weir was pleased with the way the son of Pentire stretched out in the 1000 metre heat, and is set to run him first-up in the Gr3 Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville on 21 May. "He'll probably run in that and go out but we'll see," Weir told the Herald Sun. "He stretched out nicely and got past half the starters in the last little bit." Weir has previously stated that the 6YO is likely to be restricted to a light campaign before preparing him for a defence of his crown in the spring. Prince Of Penzance became the equal-longest priced winner in Melbourne Cup history when he defeated Max Dynamite and Criterion at odds of 100-1. His victory will also be remembered for the heroics of Payne, who became the first female jockey in history to win Australia's most famous race.

2015

Light Autumn For Melbourne Cup Winner

Friday, 18th December 2015

Leading Victorian trainer Darren Weir says that Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance will be restricted to a light autumn campaign before preparing him for a defence of his crown in the spring. "He won't be doing much his next campaign," Weir told racing.com. "He is going to have a good break, he is doing really well at the farm. He is a happy horse, putting on a bit of weight." He added: "We will probably look at just giving him a run in Adelaide, a mile race over there that suits. A very light program over there and then just focus on the Spring again next year." Prince Of Penzance became the equal-longest priced winner in Melbourne Cup history when he defeated Max Dynamite and Criterion at odds of 100-1. His victory will also be remembered for the heroics of Michelle Payne, who became the first female jockey in history to win Australia's most famous race.

Prince Equals Biggest Price In Cup History

Wednesday, 4th November 2015

Prince Of Penzance became the equal longest priced winner in Melbourne Cup history when he defeated Max Dynamite and Criterion at odds of 100-1. The last Melbourne Cup winner to win at such a huge price was Old Rowley in 1940, with the only other horses to win at that quote being The Pearl (1871) and Wotan (1936).

Melbourne Cup Field

Tuesday, 3rd November 2015

The 155th running of the $6 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) will be run at the race's traditional timeslot of 3:00pm AEDT at Flemington racecourse today. The field for Australia's most famous race is below. Click here for the race form plus all the form for Melbourne Cup day.

1. SNOW SKY (Sir Michael Stoute-Ryan Moore) 58kg (16)

2. CRITERION (David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-Michael Walker) 57.5kg (4)

3. FAME GAME (Yoshitada Munakata-Zac Purton) 57kg (12)

4. OUR IVANHOWE (Lee & Anthony Freedman-Ben Melham) 56kg (22)

5. BIG ORANGE (Michael Bell-Jamie Spencer) 55.5kg (23)

6. HARTNELL (John O'Shea-James McDonald) 55.5kg (17)

7. HOKKO BRAVE (Yasutoshi Matsunaga-Craig Williams) 55.5kg (20)

8. MAX DYNAMITE (William Mullins-Frankie Dettori) 55kg (2)

9. RED CADEAUX (Ed Dunlop-Gerald Mosse) 55kg (8)

10. TRIP TO PARIS (Ed Dunlop-Tommy Berry) 55kg (14)

11. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (Chris Waller-Blake Shinn) 54.5kg (6)

12. SKY HUNTER (Saeed Bin Suroor-William Buick) 54kg (7)

13. THE OFFER (Gai Waterhouse-Damien Oliver) 54kg (13)

14. GRAND MARSHAL (Chris Waller-Jim Cassidy) 53.5kg (15)

15. PREFERMENT (Chris Waller-Hugh Bowman) 53.5kg (11)

16. QUEST FOR MORE (Roger Charlton-Damian Lane) 53.5kg (21)

17. ALMOONQITH (David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-Dwayne Dunn) 53kg (10)

18. KINGFISHER (Aidan O'Brien-Colm O'Donoghue) 53kg (9)

19. PRINCE OF PENZANCE (Darren Weir-Michelle Payne) 53kg (1)

20. BONDI BEACH (Aidan O'Brien-Brett Prebble) 52.5kg (18)

21. SERTORIUS (Jamie Edwards-Craig Newitt) 52.5kg (5)

22. THE UNITED STATES (Robert Hickmott-Joao Moreira) 52.5kg (3)

23. EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (Gai Waterhouse-Kerrin McEvoy) 51kg (24)

24. GUST OF WIND (John Sargent-Chad Schofield) 51kg (19)

Final Melbourne Cup Field

Monday, 2nd November 2015

The field has been finalised for the 155th running of the $6 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) scheduled for 3:00pm AEDT at Flemington racecourse tomorrow. The field for Australia's most famous race is below. Click here for the race form plus all the form on Melbourne Cup day.

1. SNOW SKY (Sir Michael Stoute-Ryan Moore) 58kg (16)

2. CRITERION (David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-Michael Walker) 57.5kg (4)

3. FAME GAME (Yoshitada Munakata-Zac Purton) 57kg (12)

4. OUR IVANHOWE (Lee & Anthony Freedman-Ben Melham) 56kg (22)

5. BIG ORANGE (Michael Bell-Jamie Spencer) 55.5kg (23)

6. HARTNELL (John O'Shea-James McDonald) 55.5kg (17)

7. HOKKO BRAVE (Yasutoshi Matsunaga-Craig Williams) 55.5kg (20)

8. MAX DYNAMITE (William Mullins-Frankie Dettori) 55kg (2)

9. RED CADEAUX (Ed Dunlop-Gerald Mosse) 55kg (8)

10. TRIP TO PARIS (Ed Dunlop-Tommy Berry) 55kg (14)

11. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (Chris Waller-Blake Shinn) 54.5kg (6)

12. SKY HUNTER (Saeed Bin Suroor-William Buick) 54kg (7)

13. THE OFFER (Gai Waterhouse-Damien Oliver) 54kg (13)

14. GRAND MARSHAL (Chris Waller-Jim Cassidy) 53.5kg (15)

15. PREFERMENT (Chris Waller-Hugh Bowman) 53.5kg (11)

16. QUEST FOR MORE (Roger Charlton-Damian Lane) 53.5kg (21)

17. ALMOONQITH (David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-Dwayne Dunn) 53kg (10)

18. KINGFISHER (Aidan O'Brien-Colm O'Donoghue) 53kg (9)

19. PRINCE OF PENZANCE (Darren Weir-Michelle Payne) 53kg (1)

20. BONDI BEACH (Aidan O'Brien-Brett Prebble) 52.5kg (18)

21. SERTORIUS (Jamie Edwards-Craig Newitt) 52.5kg (5)

22. THE UNITED STATES (Robert Hickmott-Joao Moreira) 52.5kg (3)

23. EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (Gai Waterhouse-Kerrin McEvoy) 51kg (24)

24. GUST OF WIND (John Sargent-Chad Schofield) 51kg (19)

Cup Penalty For Amralah

Tuesday, 13th October 2015

Talented import Amralah (Teofilo-Sharp Mode, by Diesis) has been given a 2kg penalty for the Melbourne Cup following his impressive 3-length win in last Saturday's Gr2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield, reports AAP. The penalty lifts the 6YO Irish-bred entire's handicap to 53.5kg and places him 27th in the Melbourne Cup order of entry. "I thought his performance on Saturday was outstanding," Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter said. "Two kilograms takes him to 53.5kg. It puts him at number 27 at the order of entry right at the minute, but I believe it's a weight where he can still be very competitive in the race." The last horse to win the Herbert Power-Melbourne Cup double was Rogan Josh in 1999. Amralah, who is owned by the father and son Macedon Lodge team of Lloyd and Nick Williams, is now a $16 chance with TAB for the Melbourne Cup. Japanese galloper Fame Game, who is set to make his Australian debut in Saturday's Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), is currently favourite for the Melbourne Cup at $7, ahead of local hope Preferment at $10, French-bred stayer Max Dynamite at $12, and Dandino at $14.

amralah

Amralah (image: Mark Gatt)

140 Nominations For Melbourne Cup

Wednesday, 2nd September 2015

Nominations for the Melbourne Cup have closed with 140 horses entered for Australia's most famous race, including 31 internationals, reports Racing.com. Last year's Melbourne Cup trifecta of Protectionist, Red Cadeaux and Who Shot Thebarman are back for another shot, while veteran stayer Precedence is in contention to give the late Bart Cummings an incredible 13th win in the race. Racing Victoria's chief handicapper Greg Carpenter has described this year's international entries as among the best ever. "The Emirates Melbourne Cup is the world's premier staying race and the quality of the local and international entries for this year's race is outstanding," Carpenter said. "The depth amongst the international contingent is exceptional, with the Ascot Gold Cup quinella, Hardwicke Stakes winner, Goodwood Cup trifecta, Lonsdale Cup winner and a pair of Japan's elite stayers amongst 31 international entries." He added: "Following the passing of the 'Cups King' Bart Cummings this week there will naturally be plenty of people hoping that Precedence can secure his place in a fifth Melbourne Cup and it would be most fitting if he could. With crowd favourite Red Cadeaux also set to return for a fifth appearance and last year's brilliant winner Protectionist among the entries, the scene is set for yet another brilliant and memorable renewal of the Emirates Melbourne Cup." Some of the highlights include:

  • Two entrants from dual Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Dermot Weld in Manalapan and Zafayan. Weld trained the first international winner of the Cup when Vintage Crop saluted in 1993;
  • Four entrants from Aidan O'Brien, who has not had a runner since 2008, in Kingfisher, Order Of St George, Bondi Beach and Fields Of Athenry;
  • Two Japanese entries, Fame Game and Hokko Brave, who are the first internationals scheduled to arrive in Melbourne on Saturday, 19 September;
  • This year's winners of top European staying races in Hardwicke Stakes winner Snow Sky, Lonsdale Cup winner Max Dynamite and Goodwood Cup winner Big Orange.

Weights for the Emirates Melbourne Cup will be released on Tuesday, 15 September, with first acceptances taken at 12 noon (AEST) on Tuesday, 6 October. Click here to view nominations.