Drunken Sailor, trained by Luca Cumani is almost certainly now being aimed at Australia to mount a challenge to win the 2011 Melbourne Cup following a terrific win in the Group Three, Glorious Stakes at Goodwood on 29th July.
The six year old won the race after a battle royal with his great rival, Harris Tweed, eventually getting home by a just a head thus reversing Royal Ascot form from the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes, where they both finished behind Await The Dawn. The win has earned Drunken Sailor a quote of 16/1 for the race affectionately knows as the ‘Race that stops a Nation’, which this year takes place on the 1st November. Newmarket trainer, Cumani, has gone close to winning the Melbourne Cup before and would love to add the race to his glittering CV. He may also be sending Bauer back to Melbourne who was controversially withdrawn from the race 12 months ago at short notice and has not ruled out the possibility of entering Manighar, who was fourth behind Fame And Glory in the Ascot Gold Cup in June, but who ran very modestly when only eighth of fifteen in the Goodwood Cup at 2011 Glorious Goodwood.
William Haggas remains keen to send Harris Tweed to Melbourne too and confirmed that he is taking the appropriate blood samples for entry purposes of the four year old. Should he get into the race then he faces the unlikely prospect of facing a New Zealand horse also called Harris Tweed. That prospect however is some way off but punters should note that the Haggs trained Harris Tweed is a 40/1 shot currently to win the race.
Another major British challenge this year could come from the Ed Dunlop trained, Red Cadeaux, despite his poor run in the Group Two, Goodwood Cup at the 2011 Glorious Goodwood Festival. However, the five year old will be dropping down into handicap company for Australia and has a sufficiently high enough mark, to give him a good chance of getting into the race. Until Drunken Sailor’s win in the Glorious Stakes, Red Cadeaux was the best backed of the European stayers who are likely to be heading “Down Under”.
Brigantin, trained by Andre Fabre who was third in the 2011 Ascot Gold Cup at the Royal Meeting is the likely lead challenger from France. Fabre confirmed after Ascot that the consistent four year old would be aimed at a tilt for Australia’s richest race but much would depend on the weights. He has won twice over long distance at Group level and would definitely have enough class to hold his own in such a race, he was also the winner of the Swiss Derby in 2010 and has great acceleration.
The Dermot Weld trained Sense Of Purpose looks to be the most likely entry from the all conquering’ Master of Rosewell, who has saddled two Melbourne Cup winners in the past. This four year old mare is a tough animal and showed all the right hallmarks of a potential Melbourne Cup winner, when winning the Listed Challenge Stakes at Leopardstown earlier this month. In winning that race she followed in the footsteps of Profound Beauty who won it 2008 before going on to finish fifth at Flemington Park a few months later in the ‘big one’.