Cups King Bart Cummings has named Americian the horse to beat in tomorrow’s $6 Group 1 2011 Melbourne Cup (3200m) holding on to hope rather than confidence for his two entrants Precedence and Illo.
While the lone universal question mark on Americain appears to be whether he can lump 58kg and win successive Cups, Cummings believes the French trained rival will.
“Americian can carry the weight, he is about 16 hands and a very impressive type,” he said.
“He has a good turn of foot at the end of his races and he is certainly the one to beat.”
Cummings was given German import Illo to train in August which most consider not time enough for the master trainer to weave his magic.
The six-year-old showed up on the Cummings doorstep light in weight.
“Illo put on about 23 kilograms since coming to my stable and his third in the Moonee Valley Cup was good recent form
“Hopefully he has improved since then, he appears to be a little stronger .
“I like challenges, I been equal on terms with them I suppose, but this one is a little bit different.
“I have been more impressed by him in the short time I have had him, so at this stage I haven’t given up.
Illo finished third behind Americain in the Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) on October 22 beaten three and a half lengths.
He meets the Alain de Royer-Dupre trained galloper three and a half kilograms better off in weight in tomorrow’s Cup.
“Whether my little bloke can do it with the weight advantage, well it may help perhaps.” Cummings said.
“He is fit to run two mile at least – it had been a short preparation- it is a bit hard to understand how he can do it (beat Americain) but we are hoping for the best.
The two Cummings gallopers have drawn well, Illo in barrier one, Precedence in barrier two.
He expects Illo to settle “sixth or seventh” and Precedence midfield.
He believes Precedence will be best suited over the 3200m of the Cup.
“He is better at two miles and with a good barrier this time he is a hope,” Cummings said.
Precedence jumped from barrier 16 when 10th in the 2011 Caulfield Cup and barrier 11 inthe Mackinnon Stakes on Saturday.
He drew barrier 14 in last year’s Melbourne Cup when running eighth beaten nine lengths by Americain.
“He has been getting bad draws and not being able to get in (the running line).
“He has had to go back and sometimes he has been wide and too far back.
“This barrier just might be what he has been looking for.
“He is settling okay in races and the good barrier is what he might need – time will tell.
“I hope he is coming right but so far I just can’t see it.”