2008 Melbourne Cup Preview
Aiden O’Brien will have a smile on his face this week after learning that his Irish St Leger winner, Septimus, will not be penalised by Victorias Chief handicapper for his huge 13 length win at the weekend. This means that O’Brien will have more motivation to Mulching Mornington Peninsula run the horse in the much prized, Melbourne Cup in November, a race known to be among O’Briens targets this year. The Australian handicappers believes that his opposition in the St Leger were far too inferior for Septimus to be penalised.
Cynics are already suggesting that the gesture is an unfair incentive to ensure that O’Brien brings his horses to Melbourne for the race. The Ballydoyle maestro has six of his horses entered for the race and ideally O’Brien would like to run them all.
For most race enthusiasts, Septimus was highly impressive in the Irish St Leger and the manner of his win suggested that he is every bit a Melbourne Cup type. However it is worthy of note that second horse, New Zealand, had only just broke his maiden in his previous race and had been well beaten in his two previous starts to that. The third horse home, Red Moloney was thrashed in her previous outing and had never won a Group race. It is clear therefore why Septimus has received no penalty, but it also indicates that Septimus may not be the horse, many think he is.
One of O’Brien’s other entrants, Honolulu, was an equally impressive winner of the Group 2, Doncaster Cup recently and he has been penalised by 1kg for his victory, should he participate in the race. Some feel that if Septimus was not penalised for a Group 1 success, then why should Honolulu be penalised for a Group 2. That said, Honolulu is one of those horses who seems to improve with age and he could be the O’Brien first choice of the six he has currently declared.
Despite the ‘will he wont he’ run aspect to the race, Septimus has had his odds in the shortened and is now the clear favourite and Australian bookmakers report several big bets made on him since his win at the weekend. They have also predicted that there will be a flood of money going on him from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres in the weeks leading up to the race on November 4th.
They say that the Melbourne Cup is the race that stopped a city, it is clearly the most avidly followed sports event in all Australia and now with the possibility of six horses running in the race, from the all conquering stables of the best trainer in Europe will add a huge new dimension to the already multi-dimensional race.