Melbourne Cup: Favourite Yucatan draws barrier 23, Caulfield Cup winner Best Solution to start from six
Nick Williams was unimpressed after drawing a wide Melbourne Cup barrier in 23 for Yucatan. (AAP: Julian Smith)
Hot favourite Yucatan will have a tough task to start from barrier 23 for Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, after the draw was held at the end of Derby Day at Flemington.
The Cup draw was held in the mounting yard at Flemington on Saturday evening after the 24-horse field was finalised.
English horse A Prince of Arran [barrier 20] won the final automatic spot in the field, with a win in the Hotham Handicap on Derby Day for trainer Charlie Fellowes.
Another English galloper, Red Verdon, dropped out of the field on vet’s advice after a re-examination on Saturday afternoon to look at a sore heel.
This gave Scottish-trained Nakeeta [barrier three] — who came fifth in last year’s Melbourne Cup — a chance to run for the second year running.
Yucatan, which has been hotly tipped ever since a brilliant win in the Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield last month, drew one off the outside for Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien.
O’Brien’s other two horses, The CliffsofMoher and Rostropovich drew barriers nine and 21 respectively.
Nick Williams, son of owner Lloyd Williams, looked unimpressed after making his selection for the favourite, but later said he was not worried about the barriers for Yucatan and Rostropovich.
“It wasn’t what you want, more the barriers you don’t want,” Williams told Racing.com after the draw.
“What I didn’t want was to get stuck [inside in] barriers one or two. They can be deadly.
“In these races, I think barriers are largely irrelevant.”
Williams was asked how Yucatan was travelling after its impressive Caulfield win.
“He’s in good form back at Werribee, him and The CliffsofMoher. He’s definitely improved [since the Herbert Power].”
British chance Magic Circle was in 17, while Godolphin topweight Best Solution — who will try to complete the Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double — will start in decent shape from barrier six.
Owner Marwan Koukash said Magic Circle, which rocketed up in Cup calculations after wins in the Chester Cup and the Henry II Stakes earlier this year, was on track to win despite a wide barrier.
Cup betting after the draw
- Yucatan $4.50 (from $4.20)
- Magic Circle $9 (no change)
- Cross Counter $11 (from $10)
- Muntahaa $11 (no change)
- Best Solution $13 (from $15)
- Avilius $13 (no change)
- The CliffsofMoher $15 (no change)
- A Prince of Arran $15 (from $13)
- Youngstar $17 (no change)
- Marmelo $17 (no change)
*Prices from Tab.com.au
“This is the best stayer I’ve ever had,” he told Racing.com.
“I had Mount Athos in the Melbourne Cup, it came third — this is, trust me, a better horse.
“I’m living the dream right now. This horse is going to deliver the dream on Tuesday.”
Nearly half the field — 11 of the 24 runners — will be internationally trained, as the overseas raiders look set to continue their recent domination of the Cup.
Of the four locally-bred runners, the Chris Waller-trained Youngstar drew barrier eight, David Payne’s Ace High will start from barrier 22, Runaway — which will carry the hopes of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott — drew barrier 12 and the New Zealand-trained Sir Charles Road will go from gate 14.
Waller’s other horses Who Shot Thebarman drew barrier 18 and British import Finche will start from gate 15.
The trainer of A Prince of Arran, Charlie Fellowes, fresh from his first ever Group victory in the Hotham Handicap, was relaxed about his horse’s wide barrier.
“We would have looked to be a little further in,” he said.
“But it’s fine — he’ll stay wide, slot in somewhere, stay where he is until the 200 [metres mark], pop out and win!”
|1:||Best Solution||Saeed Bin Suroor||6||57.5kg|
|2||The CliffsofMoher||Aidan O’Brien||9||56.5kg|
|3||Magic Circle||Ian Williams||17||55.5kg|
|4||Chestnut Coat||Yoshito Yahagi||4||55.5kg|
|6||Sound Check||Michael Moroney||16||55.5kg|
|7||Who Shot Thebarman||ChrisWaller||18||55.5kg|
|8||Ace High||David Payne||22||55kg|
|14||Red Cardinal||Darren Weir||5||54kg|
|15||Vengeur Masque||Michael Moroney||2||54kg|
|16||Ventura Storm||David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig||7||54kg|
|17||A Prince of Arran||Charlie Fellowes||20||53kg|
|19||Sir Charles Road||Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott||14||53kg|
|20||Zacada||Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman||24||53kg|
|21||Runaway||Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott||12||52kg|
|23||Cross Counter||Charlie Appleby||19||51kg|