Favourite Yucatan has been given the visitor’s draw and will jump from barrier twenty-three in the Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.
The Aidan O’Brien trained Irish stayer Yucatan created a huge impression with a stunning win in the Group 2 $400,000 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 13 but will need more than his fair share of luck from the horror barrier draw.
Herbert Power Stakes winning jockey James McDonald gets the ride again and the Irish trained stayer could give Lloyd Williams and his co-owners another Melbourne Cup winning trophy.
Part owner Nick Williams dismissed the wide barrier as a hurdle and is looking forward to seeing Yucatan fight out the finish.
“What I really didn’t want is to get stuck in barrier one or barrier two,” Williams said.
“I think the barriers in this race are largely irrelevant myself.”
“It is a big long run into the first turn, a 1000m, and they will sought themselves out by then. I think the barriers will be fine.”
“His form is looking good. He is in great form back at Werribee, they are doing great job with him, Aidan and his team out there so I am sure they will run well on the day.”
“We will look at the race and make a plan for Tuesday and James (McDonald) is flying at the moment and I am sure that he will give him a good ride.”
Only one horse has drawn wider than Yucatan, the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman trained Zacada.
O’Brien will also saddle up The Cliffsofmoher who is also raced by the Williams family, has drawn barrier nine with Ryan Moore to ride and the Northern Hemisphere trained Rostropovich who also draw wide at gate twenty-one with Irish jockey Wayne Lordan to ride.
The Richard Freedman trained Auvray has drawn the rails and Tommy Berry takes over the reins from Glyn Schofield who was aboard for his last start sixth in the $500,000 St Leger Stakes (2600m) at Randwick on October 13.
Youngster is the best drawn of the three Chris Waller runners at barrier eight for Craig Williams while veteran stayer Who Shot Thebarman with Ben Melham in the saddle will jump from barrier eighteen and European import Finche drew barrier fifteen with Zac Purton to fly in from Hong Kong to ride.
Another English stayer to draw poorly is the Ian Williams trained Magic Circle who drew barrier seventeen in the twenty-four horse field with last year’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Corey Brown to ride.
Three times Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver will ride the Darren Weir trained import Red Cardinal who drew in close at gate five.
The Lindsay Park trained Ventura Storm has drawn nicely at barrier seven for Mark Zahra while The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Boot trained Runaway will jump from gate twelve with Stephen Baster to ride again.
Melbourne Cup top weight and Caulfield Cup winner Best Solution has drawn barrier six with Pat Cosgrave in the saddle again.
Yucatan heads the Melbourne Cup betting at $5.50 at Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Cross Counter at $9 and Magic Circle at $9.50