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.

Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
News
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing