Baker’s dozen for Bart?

THE ‘Cup King’, James Bartholomew (Bart) Cummings turns 87 on November 14 but his thirst for Tuesday’s 154th running of the Group 1 $6,200,000 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200 metres) is as great as when he was a youngster strapping the 1950 Melbourne Cup winner, Comic Court, for his father, Jim.
The winner of 12 Melbourne Cups, Bart recently said, “I would like to make it a baker’s dozen”.
A man who rarely strays from his New South Wales property these days revealed he may make a rare visit to Flemington to see Precedence become his 89th Melbourne Cup starter, a record, (it will also be the first for his grandson, James, who trains in partnership). Precedence will be having his fourth Melbourne Cup start and may be a veteran of the field (like his trainer) but ran an impressive fifth behind Prince of Penzance in the Moonee Valley Cup on October 25.
In a race that looks to be dominated by overseas horses, either internationally or locally trained the other local hope appears to be Fawkner who was great in defeat when second to Adelaide in the Cox Plate. He has reportedly pulled up well and will be at his peak on Tuesday. The Emirates Melbourne Cup has always been on the agenda for Fawkner and he has done everything right. Lucia Valentina had no luck in the Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup and will be amongst the contenders.
Whilst there are local hopes we have to accept that there is a powerful group of internationals who will make up about half the field. The hardest to beat of those will be the Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup winner, Admire Rakti. He has plenty of weight but does rise just .5kg on his winning impost at Caulfield. The Japanese raider has done everything right in the interim and is considered better at the 3200 metres. Protectionist, prepared in Germany by Andreas Wohler ran an outstanding fourth in the Herbert Power Handicap with 59kg and drops to 56.5kg, the lowest weight he has carried for two years. He will have the services of Ryan Moore in the saddle. Considered by many as the best jockey in the world he rode an outstanding race winning the Cox Plate on Adelaide.
Former great jockey, now successful trainer, Johnny Murtagh, has two runners from his Irish stables. Mutual Regard, to be ridden by Damien Oliver, looks the best having won the Ebor Handicap at York and has all the credentials to win. He also has Irish St Leger winner, Royal Diamond, to be ridden by Stephen Arnold. Craig Williams will ride Cavalryman for the powerful Godolphin stables. Red Cadeaux returns for his fourth try after already running second to Dunaden and Fiorente. Also watch Seismos, Gatewood, Brambles and Willing Foe.
Whilst most interest centres on Tuesday it must be remembered that Thursday sees the running of the $1,005,000 Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500 metres) with Lumosity, Fontein Ruby and Crafty the main chances.
On Saturday attention will be on the sprinters with the $1,002,500 Group 1 Darley Classic (1200 metres) where interest centres on Irish sprinter, Slade Power for whom victory will mean a $600,000 bonus awarded by the Victoria Racing Club to any winner who has also won a leg of the Global Sprint Series outside Australia in the last 12 months. Slade Power won the Group 1 double of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and the July Cup at Newmarket this year. The son of Dutch Art has raced 18 times for 10 wins and five placings and is unbeaten this campaign. He will have strong opposition from locals, Lankan Rupee, current Australian Horse of the Year, plus new stars, Chautauqua and Terravista, plus Angelic Light and Buffering.
Also highlighting the program are the $1,005,000 Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600 metres) plus the $301,500 Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600 metres) which is likely to feature runners who missed out on making the field for the Melbourne Cup.
Sportingbet Sandown Guineas Day will be held at Sportingbet Park, Sandown on Saturday, November 15.

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