Chris Waller has three Melbourne Cup horses and he believes that Group 1 winner Junoob is the most likely to deliver him a maiden win in the $6 million event at Flemington tomorrow afternoon.
Junoob finished a disappointing ninth in the Carnival Handicap (2800m) on Melbourne Cup Day last year, but he has improved significantly in the last 12 months and recorded impressive victories in both the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on September 20 and the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at the same venue on October 4 this preparation.
The Haafhd gelding was far from disgraced when seventh in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18 and Waller told Racing Ahead this morning that he believes the tough gelding is not without a chance in the Melbourne Cup.
“He has certainly raced very well including the Caulfield Cup last start; he didn’t have any luck at all and he still boxed on well in a very tight finish,” Waller said.
“Two miles is the big question that everybody needs to answer on Tuesday under pressure and he has got a wit of weight, so it is not easy.
“He is certainly a chance.”
Who Shot Thebarman will also be returning to the races for the first time since the Caulfield Cup and Waller is confident that the Auckland Cup winner will produce a much improved performance when he returns to the galloping Flemington track after he took out both the Sofitel Girls’ Day Out Handicap (2000m) and the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2520m) at the famous circuit this preparation.
“Who Shot Thebarman has won two races at Flemington this preparation and he is a two mile winner,” Waller said.
“Caulfield just wasn’t his track and it was too tight there for him, but back to Flemington he will be a different horse.
“He has had the right preparation.”
Opinion rounds out the three Chris Waller-trained Melbourne Cup horses and the imported stayer will be stepping up to 3200 metres for the first time since he finished second behind The Offer in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
The Oasis Dream gelding has been included in the 2014 Melbourne Cup tips of a number of racing experts and Waller is happy with the condition of the Group 1 placegetter heading into the $6 million race.
“I am happy with him and I’m not saying we have great chances, but we have rough chances in the Melbourne Cup,” Waller said.
Junoob is currently available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $26, while Who Shot Thebarman has been backed into a quote of $17 and has been one of the best backed runners in the field.