While Cups King Bart Cummings believes Americain is the horse to beat in tomorrow’s 2011 $6m Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) while big owner Lloyd Williams said he will struggle.
While Cummings has trained a record 12 Cup winners, Williams has owned three with both men a chance to add to their tallies with two horses each.
Williams has the much improved Mourayan and Irish import At First Sight running while Cummings has German import Illo and Precedence.
Cummings believes Americain despite carrying 58kg is well weighted such is the respect he has for the Gallic raider.
Williams believes this year’s race will prove to be a real handicap.
“This is very much a handicap race this year and I think the top weight is going to struggle,” Williams said.
Williams who owned Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985) and Efficient (2007) in Cup victory said “I think the horse that is going to win it will be weighted between 51kg and 53kg.
He is hoping it will be one of his duo.
Mourayan was imported from the UK in 2009 but only won his first race in Australia in the Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington on October 2.
He followed it up with a tremendous second in the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) behind Glass Harmonium on Saturday and drops from 59kg to 53.5kg for the Cup.
“He is a totally different horse from12 months ago,” Williams said.
“He didn’t do well at all last year.”
From barrier 14 jockey Hugh Bowman will be instructed to ride Mourayan totake up a forward position.
“He goes forward in the run, all his races he goes forward, Hughie used him up for the first 400m in Mackinnon and he fought on strongly.” Williams said.
“He is the best we have ever had him.
“I said to Hughie on Friday, this horse will surprise you since you last rode him a month ago.
“We have never had him better and it wouldn’t shock me if he had won the Mackinnon.”
At First Sight drops from 58kg from his Bendigo Cup second to 52.5kg for tomorrow’s Cup.
He ran great sectional times at Bendigo and Williams has been happy with him since.
“We are very happy with him, he has done really well since the race (Bendigo Cup)'” he said.
“On the work he did this morning, you would have something on him.”
“He is a European who has acclimatize well, he had a slight virus during the Melbourne Cup preparation which isn’t perfect but he is well now.”
Williams expects At First Sight to settle no further back than midfield in running tomorrow.