Melbourne can fall to Freemason

Australia will join Britain in grinding to a halt in the early hours of tomorrow morning, but it will have nothing to do with floods or railways. The 140th running of the Melbourne Cup will draw around 100,000 racegoers to Flemington Park, and many millions more, from pensioners to schoolchildren, to their television sets, while back on this side of the planet, punters can look forward to the best chance of a European-trained winner since Vintage Crop broke the mould in 1994.

Australia will join Britain in grinding to a halt in the early hours of tomorrow morning, but it will have nothing to do with floods or railways. The 140th running of the Melbourne Cup will draw around 100,000 racegoers to Flemington Park, and many millions more, from pensioners to schoolchildren, to their television sets, while back on this side of the planet, punters can look forward to the best chance of a European-trained winner since Vintage Crop broke the mould in 1994.

Twenty-four runners will go to post for the Cup, among them Enzeli, the winner of the 1999 Gold Cup at Ascot, and Martin Pipe's Far Cry, who finished runner-up in the same race this year. With Arctic Owl, James Fanshawe's excellent stayer, and Lightning Arrow, who represents Godolphin, also lining up for the two-mile race, the European challenge comprises four horses who are all quoted at between 8-1 and 14-1 by the Australian bookies.

Both Enzeli and Far Cry fared well in the draw for stalls positions, with boxes six and 10 respectively, since the local lore is that low numbers are favoured. Lightning Arrow drew 14, however, while Arctic Owl ended up on the wide outside in 21, although as his trainer pointed out afterwards, Rogan Josh left the same stall in the race 12 months ago, and ran out an impressive winner.

Both Enzeli and Far Cry are quoted at 8-1 in Melbourne, while Arctic Owl is a 10-1 chance and Lightning Arrow is available at 14-1. The likely favourite for the race is Freemason, trained by John Hawkes, one of Australia's leading trainers who is still seeking his first success in his country's greatest race. Freemason was a strong-finishing fourth in the Caulfield Cup and Mackinnon Stakes, which is exactly the sort of profile Australian punters like to see in a potential Cup winner.

Freemason is expected to start at around 11-2, just ahead of Diatribe, the Caulfield Cup winner, who attempts to become the 11th horse to complete the double in the same season. Kaapstad Way, Yippyio and Bohemiath are other locally-trained horses reckoned to be in with a big chance.

Martin Pipe, who is in Australia to supervise Far Cry's preparation, seems to be enjoying the break from Towcester and Newton Abbot. "It is the first time I've travelled this far for a race and I'm very excited," he said yesterday. "I can't understand why I've never done it before. I wondered how he would handle the travelling, but we are happy with him and happy with the facilities."

Far Cry will be ridden by Kevin Darley, Britain's new champion jockey, who has never ridden in Australia before, let alone in what is often a rough race. "Kevin has had a terrific season and is coming on a real high," Pipe said. "He has ridden in Hong Kong and in plenty of tough races back home and is used to big fields."

Far Cry has the trainer and the form to go close but a place may be the best he can achieve. The best advice is to follow the money and go with Freemason, who was a 14-1 chance two weeks ago but is now the locals' solid favourite.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Agency Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Network Support Engineer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Network Support Engineer is r...

Recruitment Genius: Account Director - Tech Startup - Direct Your Own Career Path

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Sales Advisor - OTE £35,000

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telephone Sales Advisor is re...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent