A good racing surface could be the key to Yucatan’s chances in the 2018 Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.
The Flemington track for Melbourne Cup day has been rated a Good 4 on Sunday morning and will most likely remain around that rating despite the possibility of some showers being forecast over the next couple of days.
Champion Irish trained Aidan O’Brien said that Yucatan’s 2018 European campaign was hampered by some wet tracks and the prospect of a good racing surface for Melbourne Cup Day is giving the master trainer plenty of confidence heading into Tuesday.
“He loves fast ground and another reason he might not have got that ever there (Europe). The better the ground, the better his chance,” O’Brien told RSN 927 on Sunday morning.
‘’Everything seems to be going well so it will be very interesting to see with him.’’
Yucatan gave Australian racegoers a taste of what he can do on a dry racing surface when he scored an effortless win in the Group 2 $400,000 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 13.
Jockey James McDonald let Yucatan circle the field from the 600m mark and the Irish stayer careered away in the straight to set up a commanding lead before being eased down in the run to the line.
The five year old stallion was subsequently given a 2.5kg penalty for the Melbourne Cup which guaranteed him a place in the final twenty-four horse field with McDonald retaining the mount.
The Herbert Power Stakes win also saw Yucatan soar to the top of the Melbourne Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au but is now a drifting $6 favourite after drawing barrier twenty-three in the capacity twenty-four horse field.
Yucatan will race in the Melbourne Cup winning blue and white colours of the Lloyd Williams family and 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 told racing.com.
“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.”
On the second line of betting at $9 is the Charlie Appleby trained Cross Counter and the Ian Williams trained Magic Circle.