Melbourne Cup: What the trainers, jockeys and owners are saying

The 23-strong Group 1 Melbourne Cup field looks wide open and we've taken a look at how the trainers, jockeys and owners are rating their chances of victory.

Connections of the contenders for the $6.2 million Race The Stops A Nation have been speaking to newspapers and media outlets and giving their thoughts ahead of Tuesday's big Flemington race.

We round-up what the trainers and jockeys have been saying to the media:

1. HARTNELL

Trainer James Cummings: "He's freshened up and looks like he's responded nicely to a few easy weeks since the Caulfield Stakes. More importantly he has trained more and more like a two miler and raced like one over the past month and a half. And he arrives for the first time in a Melbourne Cup on fresh legs with a preparation where we're clearly trying something different."

2. ALMANDIN

Jockey Frankie Dettori: "Obviously I am very grateful that I have the ride on Almandin, although it was in difficult circumstances. I am very sad for Damien Oliver. He's been trained for this race. He's won it before, he stays the two miles we know that. It looks a wide-open Melbourne Cup but I wouldn't swap it."

Owner Nick Williams: "This year, I think he is the finished article and he’s going really well. Can he carry 4.5kg more? We’ll find out on Tuesday. I’m very excited Almandin and also Johannes Vermeer and Rekindling. But Almandin is, if I can pick who I’d love to win, is Almandin because we love this race, we have a great sense of history, we’re proud Melburnians and to have the honour of having a back to back winner would mean a great deal to us. I couldn’t put a negative on Almandin. He’s on great order."

3. HUMIDOR

Trainer Darren Weir: “The negative is the 56kg, it’s enough, but all the indications say he will stay. I didn’t really think he would get that close (to Winx), but he’s such a good horse when he’s ridden the right way and he got a beautiful run in the Cox Plate. From a Cup point of view it was a terrific run. I’m very happy with the horse and the preparation. The only thing I would change if we had it over again would have been for him to be ridden quieter in the Caulfield Cup. We backed him up a week later in the Cox Plate and if he hadn’t run well he wouldn’t be in the (Melbourne) Cup, but he got through the line great.”



4. TIBERIAN

Trainer Alain Couetil: “I don’t think the distance will be a problem because as a three-year-old he finished second in the Prix Chaudenay behind Vazirabad (over 3000m)."

Jockey Olivier Peslier: “We have had a nice summer. He has arrived in good form.”

5. MARMELO

Trainer Hugh Morrison: "Marmelo seems in good form after that run the other day (in the Caulfield Cup), and the form of his win in the Prix Kergorlay in France has worked out with the second winning the Doncaster Cup. He goes there with a chance, and it feels great to be part of it all. You can ride him from the front and the back and two miles is a long way so given a bit of luck he'll run well." 

Jockey Hugh Bowman: "I have my best chance of winning the Melbourne Cup with Marmelo. I had the choice of a few of the internationals this year. But I couldn't be happier with English stayer Marmelo, who I think is a huge chance of winning. I was really pleased with the way Marmelo dashed home in the Caulfield Cup to finish sixth. It shows he can handle our tracks, the tempo of our racing. And before the race I was pretty sure he was going to relish getting over further than a mile-and-a-half. Now I'm convinced."

6. RED CARDINAL

Trainer Andreas Wohler: “I heard there has only been one winner from the outside draw, but I do think we have the right jockey on it for that draw."

Jockey Kerrin McEvoy: "I think he's got a good chance. I'd love to see a bit of rain, I think that will just help him but he's travelled over well, he's got a good record at the distance and Andreas Wohler knows what to do. I've got a wide barrier to overcome now but if I can do that he's going to have a good chance. I've done it on Brew, we drew 23, and I jump from 23 tomorrow so I'll be trying to channel that type of ride for sure."

7. JOHANNES VERMEER

Owner Nick Williams: "There seems to be doubts about him staying the trip, I can tell you there are no doubts in the camp. We are very confident. I know Aidan (O’Brien) is very keen. When horses get on a plane to come to Australia, they seem to either gain a furlong or lose a furlong. This horse seems to have gained a furlong. He hasn’t missed a beat. He's flying and his final gallop was very impressive."

Jockey Ben Melham: "He's a versatile horse that can be ridden forward or back but from three, you'd want to make the most of the gate."

8. BONDI BEACH

Owner Nick Williams: "Bondi Beach hasn’t raced for seven or eight weeks but we have done that on purpose and barrier one will suit him."

9. MAX DYNAMITE

Trainer Willie Mullins: "We didn't get as many runs into Max Dynamite as we'd have liked and didn't run him in high-profile races on purpose. I just hope that doesn't all backfire on us."

10. VENTURA STORM

Trainer David Hayes: "Ventura has been set for this for a long time, and you should not get put off the scent with one bad run and I reckon Flemington will be a bit softer than Caulfield was. The Caulfield Cup ended up a hard run race. I kept him fresh to get around Caulfield, but on the day I reckon I might have just mucked it up, had him underdone trying to make him sharper. I think that good hard mile-and-a-half run and a lot of work since will have him right. He's been trained more European style since the race, and I think he's responded very well, but it's hard to tip him off that run."



11. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (SCRATCHED)

12. WICKLOW BRAVE

Trainer Willie Mullins: “Wicklow Brave has finally got a good draw and you'd like to think he has every chance from that draw. I'm delighted to book Stephen [Baster] to ride. He's the man in form down here at the moment."

Assistant trainer David Casey: "Wicklow Brave is very fresh after his run. We haven't done a lot with him, just freshened him up after his run. He was pulling his rider's arm out the other morning."

13. BIG DUKE

Trainer Darren Weir: “That’s the key to Big Duke, he needed a barrier to smother him up. He has just been poking along, ticking all this boxes on his way to the Cup."

14. US ARMY RANGER

Owner Nick Williams: “US Army Ranger is a high class horse and if he finds his three-year-old form from last year he is as good as any horse in the race."

15. BOOM TIME

Trainer David Hayes: "Boom Time is a Caulfield Cup winner with no weight and the horse that ran third [Johannes Vermeer] is a favourite, so I feel pretty good. He is a Caulfield Cup winner and he would be the longest priced Caulfield Cup winner in a Melbourne Cup ever. But rather than take exception, embrace it. Boom Time is bred to run 900 metres. But I am not worried about the breeding. It was a hard run Caulfield Cup and he was strong at the finish. Sometimes you look past the obvious, and his last 200 metres was better than anyone's. He was relaxed and I think he will run the trip on Tuesday. I know he's not bred to, but the breeding means nothing if you are proven at a mile and a half."

16. GALLANTE

Owner Nick Williams: "Gallante being the wet-tracker he is, there’s some chance there could be quite a lot of rain, and we’re keeping our options open. Gallante needs a track with a bit of give in it."

17. LIBRAN

Owner Harry Herbert: "He's done very well for us here and it's an enormous thrill to have a runner in the Cup. I would love to see what winning the Melbourne Cup would be like. I have a huge ambition, as every racing person does, to win the Cup."



18. NAKEETA

Trainer Iain Jardine: "I'm really pleased with the way he looks. The boys have been doing a good job with him and until now his preparation has gone very well. Heartbreak City did the same as what our horse did this year. That gave us the same ambition to come out here and he's a very similar sort of horse. I'm really pleased with my own lad - really, really happy. He's in the same kind of form as before he went to the Ebor. Having 24 runners means you need a lot of luck in running; he's a 'hold-up' horse, and if he gets a clear run, I hope he'll be there or thereabouts."

19. SINGLE GAZE

Trainer Nick Olive: "I suppose the risk with this race is running over the 3200 metres for the first time. I feel she's got the qualities to do it, but you never know until you try. It's such a gruelling race and she's such a tough horse. I think she's definitely been underrated. I do feel she'll run a big race, definitely."

Jockey Kathy O'Hara: "It would mean the world to me, not only just me and my career but also to win for Nick and all of the owners in this horse. I know how much she means to everybody so it would just be amazing. A dream come true."

20. WALL OF FIRE

Trainer Hugo Palmer: "I've been worried all week that we were going to get left at No. 25 (in order) so I'm happy to be drawing any barrier to tell you the truth."

Jockey Craig Williams: "I was lucky enough to come down and ride Tiberian last week and at the same time Wall Of Fire. I had to make a decision that day. I decided on Wall Of Fire and I’m very happy with that decision since. He’s an easy horse to ride, not a very big horse so there’s no doubt the 53 kilos is to his advantage after carrying 58 last time."

21. THOMAS HOBSON

Trainer Willie Mullins: "Joao gave Heartbreak City a fantastic ride from 23 last year, so he knows what to do in these circumstances. He's the right man for the job from that draw. It's a huge relief that he got into the race. That is a victory in itself. He seems to be in very good form and David [Casey] has been happy with him."

22. REKINDLING

Owner Nick Williams: "Rekindling has a lot of promise and is one of the top three-year-old staying horses in Europe this year. Rekindling's right there if he's got over his eight months of training. He looks well and he's right in the race with 51.5."

23. AMELIE'S STAR

Trainer Darren Weir: "Amelie’s Star gets a nice draw. She is going to be in the middle of the pack."

Jockey Dean Yendall: "She stays, has the right trainer and if she brings her A-game she’ll go well. Amelie's Star will be the best chance I’ve had in the race."

24. CISMONTANE

Trainer Gai Waterhouse: "It's so exciting. He will go to the Cup. That's been the plan all along. He’s tough as teak and as honest as the day is long. They (Melbourne Cups) are hard to win and with the compressed weights it’s always harder. But you’re in it and you’ve got a chance just being in it."

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Melbourne Cup: What the trainers, jockeys and owners are saying

The 23-strong Group 1 Melbourne Cup field looks wide open and we've taken a look at how the trainers, jockeys and owners are rating their chances of victory.

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