Beating the handicapper: Heartbreak City during a Werribee gallop. Photo: Vince CaligiuriWizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingDownloadable Cup sweep
The tough-talking connections of the Melbourne Cup’s international runners have between them boasted of beating the handicapper and arriving armed with the best European credentials as punters remain baffled over who to believe.
Still seeking to be the first overseas runner to win the Melbourne Cup without a lead-up run in Australia, the owners of Irish X-factor Heartbreak City have cheekily suggested they’ve snuck under chief handicapper Greg Carpenter’s guide with just 54 kilograms.
“Tony [Martin] is a master trainer at beating the handicapper and the system and he said, ‘I don’t want to run him in any group 1s because I want to keep his weight down and keep it below Wicklow Brave’,” said Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock boss Darren Dance, who bought into the horse after his Ebor Handicap win.
“We see Wicklow Brave as the hardest to beat and we needed the weight pull on him to have a chance. He said to me, ‘We’re coming here to win the race. We’re not here for any other reason but win the race and we’re going to enjoy the experience’.”
Having carved a reputation for his canny ability to pull off betting plunges, Martin was at his entertaining best at Werribee on Sunday and said he could find few rivals who have also ghosted into the race with a light weight.
“I’d be far more confident for a big race because the horses are more exposed rather than going for a Mickey Mouse handicap at home because there’s probably five f—ers doing the same as I’m doing,” Martin joked. “Whereas you go for a big handicap like a Galway Hurdle or Melbourne Cup they’re all exposed.”
And Martin’s compatriot Willie Mullins has been fretting that Wicklow Brave’s commanding Irish St Leger win, in which he beat subsequent Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe placegetter Order Of St George, will hinder his chances in the Melbourne Cup.
“I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to run in the Irish Leger and the Leger [field] cut up so much we ran,” Mullins said. “I was hoping I would have that improvement for the Melbourne Cup and he got 1.5 kilos for that [win]. I hope that hasn’t sunk me. It’s a nice compensation anyway.”
Lexus Stakes winner Oceanographer ($7) is the shortest priced of the nine overseas-trained runners with Ladbrokes as punters tread cautiously around Bondi Beach ($9.50), Heartbreak City ($15) and Wicklow Brave ($18).
If they can’t work out which one to back, they won’t have trouble dissecting the tempo of the race with representatives of Japan’s Curren Mirotic and topweight Big Orange pledging to make it a true staying test.
“If anything wants to lead him they’re very welcome to, but I would suggest if they do lead him they won’t be leading him when it comes to the home straight,” Big Orange’s trainer Michael Bell said.
“Big Orange is arguably the best two miler – certainly in Britain – and Order Of St George you could say might be better than him.” The ultimate racing form guide with free tips, live odds and alerts for all racing.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.