Talking Horses: overseas raiders set their sights on Melbourne Cup | Sport

No sooner had Ryan Moore crossed the line on fifth-placed Mendelssohn in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday night than he was on his way to the airport for a flight to Australia to partner The Cliffsofmoher in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup. And he was not the only one, as British and Irish stables are responsible for no fewer than 10 of the 24 runners in Australia’s biggest race, which is due off at 4.00am GMT.

The overseas challenge also includes the first five names in the betting, and some – perhaps many – Australian fans have already given up this year’s Cup as lost. No British stable has ever won while Ireland has three victories, France has two and even Germany are on the board thanks to Protectionist’s win for Andreas Wohler four years ago, with Moore in the saddle.

No-one will ever come closer than Luca Cumani in 2008, when his runner-up, Bauer, memorably recorded a faster time than the winner, Viewed. This was thanks to a quirk of the timing system, as the chip in his saddle-cloth completed the two-mile trip faster than the one carried by Viewed. Sadly for Bauer’s connections, however, his nose did not.

Aidan O’Brien, meanwhile, has also tried and failed several times at Flemington Park, while his son, Joseph, nailed it at the first attempt 12 months ago when Rekindling beat his father’s Johannes Vermeer by half a length with Willie Mullins’s Max Dynamite completing an Irish 1-2-3.

O’Brien Jr does not have a runner this time around, but his father has three, including the likely favourite, Yucatan. He has The Cliffsofmoher, second in last year’s Derby, as backup while Rostropovich has also managed to sneak in as the 24th and final horse in the handicap.

British stables are also mob-handed, with Saeed bin Suroor fielding Best Solution, the top weight, three days after his Thunder Snow finished a very creditable third in the Classic at Churchill Downs. Charlie Appleby has a very live contender in Cross Counter, the second-favourite with the British bookies, while Magic Circle, the Chester Cup winner earlier this year, represents the excellent – and perhaps somewhat under-appreciated – Ian Williams.

Nakeeta and Muntahaa, the last two winners of the Ebor Handicap, go to post for Iain Jardine and John Gosden respectively, while Hughie Morrison’s Marmelo, ninth behind Rekindling last year, is back for another go. Charlie Fellowes’s A Prince Of Arran, who got into the field courtesy of a win at Flemington just two days ago, completes the European challenge for a race that is pretty much guaranteed to produce high drama.

Monday’s two jumps cards in the UK, at Plumpton and Hereford, have rather less to offer as fast ground continues to produce some diminished fields. Between The Waters (2.30) and Lovato (3.00) should both go well at the Sussex track, but the best card of the day is on the all-weather at Kempton Park this evening.

The action includes a Listed race in which Crowned Eagle (6.00), part-owned by the footballer and keen racing enthusiast Charlie Austin, must go close, while Salute The Soldier (5.30) should follow up his recent win in an excellent time at Chelmsford City. Rosarno (7.00) should run well at a fair price too.

Plumpton 1.30 Zoffany Bay 2.00 Roses Poses 2.30 Between The Waters 3.00 Lovato 3.30 The Tin Miner 4.00 Mac Bella
Hereford 1.45
Balkinstown 2.15 Hope’s Wishes 2.45 Gone Platinum 3.15 What’s Occurring 3.45 Wisecracker 4.15 Risk And Co
Kempton 4.30 Watheerah 5.00 Cloudlam 5.30 Salute The Soldier (nap) 6.00 Crowned Eagle 6.30 Contrive 7.00 Rosarno (nb) 7.30 Broad Appeal

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