Owners Luke Murrell and Jamie Lovett will have their hearts in their mouths as they watch their horse Lucas Cranach compete in today’s $6 million Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
The five-year-old entire will attempt to out-class the performance of his sire Mamool, who finished a tailed-off last in the 2003 Melbourne Cup.
Both Murrell and Lovett know what to expect going into today’s race, after experiencing it all before with Illustrious Blue last year.
‘‘The experience was sensational,’’ Murrell said.
‘‘I wish everyone we knew could do it.
‘‘It gave us a taste last year and you thought, ‘How good’s this’.”
Illustrious Blue finished ninth in the 23 horse field and this year they are hopeful Lucas Cranach can give them their first Cup win.
‘‘Last time it was sort of last-minute, whereas this time we’ve been looking for 12months,’’ Murrell said.
‘‘Our confidence level from last year to this is probably a thousand times better.
‘‘We’re going there on Tuesday thinking we’re a top-three chance, whereas last year it was not really knowing what to expect and hoping we’d finish top five. Then when the rain came, top 10.
‘‘This one was bought specifically for ‘let’s win the thing’ and from everything we’ve seen, we’re really confident we can win.
“This time we’re going there thinking we can win it.
‘‘Last year we had an older horse, this year we’ve gone the opposite with a younger horse we’re going to have two or three shots with.
‘‘The form around this thing is world class and this horse has a lot more up sides, because he’s younger and fresher.
‘‘Last year the horse had been in work for a long time, whereas this horse has been specifically set for it and been lightly raced because of it.’’
The Anthony Freedman-trained Lucas Cranach will be ridden by Corey Brown, who won the 2009 Melbourne Cup aboard Shocking.
‘‘I spent 18 months, nearly two years down at Freedman’s and I have never seen Lee (Freedman) fuss over a horse like this,’’ Brown said.
‘‘He’s been with it every move and is really looking at everything it does.
‘‘For me to see that interest coming out of him is a big boost and quite exciting for me.
‘‘I know it is a big call but I think this bloke is a better chance than Shocking was going into the race.’’
Brown believes he has learnt a lot from the German stayer’s Caulfield Cup run.
‘‘After watching the replays on him I was disappointed with my ride in the Caulfield Cup, because I pushed the button too early,’’ he said.
‘‘Anthony (Freeman) wanted me out and rolling at the 600metres and when I did that and pushed the button he accelerated like a seven-furlong (1400-metre) horse.
‘‘Now I know the horse better and he knows me better I won’t be so eager to get going.’’
Lucas Cranach, while untested over the 3,200 metre distance, has drawn ideally in barrier 11 for today’s Cup.
“He is a very relaxed horse, puts his head on his chest and travels very kindly,’’ Brown said.
‘‘I would like to ride him exactly like Bossy (Glen Boss) did on Makybe Diva and just poke up underneath them when they are all getting itchy at the 700metres.
‘‘I want to let him take me into the race instead of making him do it.’’