Favourites Tawqeet and Yeats had their prospects of winning the Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday enhanced by favourable draws at yesterday's ceremony in the Victoria Racing Club's committee room.
Tawqeet drew stall nine, while Yeats fared even better after Tom Magnier, son of the horse's owners John and Sue Magnier, drew gate four. It was also good news for the other British-based runners Land 'N Stars and Geordieland, who will jump out of gates six and 10 respectively in the 24-horse field.
"I am delighted with that, absolutely delighted," said Jamie Poulton, trainer of Land 'N Stars. "Hopefully we won't have to put a gun to the horse's head to get a good position, and we can just creep into the race quietly."
Tom Magnier said that their stall was even better than they had been hoping for, and it was also approved by Yeats's jockey, Kieren Fallon. "We are happy with that barrier, we were looking for nine and inside," Magnier said. "I looked over at Kieren after the draw and he nodded and said, 'I'm happy with that'."
Magnier also put to rest any fears that Yeats missing a gallop on Friday would hinder his chances in the race. "He only missed that gallop because of the ground. We knew the ground would be better this morning so we worked him today, and he went really well."
Magnier said that race tactics will not be spoken about until Yeats's trainer, Aidan O'Brien, in the US for last night's Breeders' Cup, has been contacted. "He will probably sit in the first half-dozen, but a lot can happen with the ground. We will ring Aidan and work a plan out from there."
Luca Cumani had to wait on the VRC committee's final deliberation on the field, but they decided to allow his horse Glistening into the race at the expense of the local hope Count Ricardo, a move sure to incur the wrath of Australian training ranks.
The Victoria Derby winner, Efficient, drew well in gate eight and will be ridden by rising star Craig Newitt if allowed by the authorities. Newitt was suspended in the week but won a stay of proceedings which could allow him to ride.