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Six times Melbourne Cup winning owner Lloyd Williams has pinpointed several dangers to his fancied runners Yucatan and The Cliffsofmoher in the Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington today.

Lloyd Williams considers Avilius, above, as a danger to his two Melbourne Cup runners. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Lloyd Williams considers Avilius, above, as a danger to his two Melbourne Cup runners. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Williams shares in the ownership of Aidan O’Brien trained Yucatan and The Cliffsofmoher and can only see two dangers to his two Melbourne Cup runners in Marmelo and Avilius.

“All I’m worried about is James Cummings with Avilius and I’m worried about Hughie Bowman with Marmelo and that’s it with me,” Williams said on Radio TAB  on Monday.

“If I was a bookie I’d be keeping those two (plus Yucatan and The Cliffsofmoher) and I’ve got another 20 to lay.”

Yucatan is the easing $6.50 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Melbourne Cup and is coming off an emphatic last start win in the Group 2 $400,000 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 13 while The Cliffsofmoher is marked at $18 after running a very solid third to Best Solution in the Group 1 $5m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20.

The James Cummings trained Avilius ran a handy race when fourth to Winx in the Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 27 and Williams considered that as a solid Melbourne Cup trial.

“The Cox Plate effort was even,” Williams said.

“I won two Melbourne Cups out of the Cox Plate, Green Moon and Efficient.

“Avillius’ run was just as good as either of those two.”

“I thought Glyn Schofield rode him just as I would’ve liked him to ride him if I owned him. He didn’t put him under any undue pressure and gave him a nice gallop on a good surface.”

Marmelo was sent out as the equal $7 favourite for last year’s Melbourne Cup and has been well supported in the betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, firming in from $17 to $12 and goes into today’s two mile contest without a run since finishing second in the Group 2 €130,000 Darley Prix Kergorlay (3000m) at Deauville in France on August 19.

Williams has seen the Hughie Morrison trained English stayer at the Werribee International Horse Centre and said he looks in great shape.

“The horse looks well,” Williams said.

“I see him at Werribee all the time, he looks terrific.”

Williams is full of confidence about the chances of Yucatan (James McDonald) despite the five year old drawing barrier twenty-three in the twenty-four horse field.

“He’s been set for this and he’s got a master trainer in Aidan O’Brien. He’s a very promising horse. He is lightly raced. I think he’ll be hard to beat in the Cup,” Williams said.

“He needs luck (from barrier 23). To win the Melbourne Cup you don’t want too much bad luck. But he’s going to be pretty hard to beat.”

Williams is also expecting a big performance from The Cliffsofmoher who will jump from gate nine with Ryan Moore in the saddle.

“I’ll tell you what, he’ll give you a good run for your money. I think he’ll run well,” Williams said.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.