Regular Melbourne Cup visitor top Irish trainer Dermott Weld says that the Flemington track is the best he has seen it in twenty years leading up to tomorrow’s Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Weld, who has won the Melbourne Cup twice with Vintage Crop in 1993 and Media Puzzle in 2002 is usually very vocal about the state of the Flemington track, always pushing for more water to be poured onto the surface.
But with rain forecast for Melbourne tomorrow, Weld was happy to give the track the thumbs up and is certain his Cup hope Galileo’s Choice will be right in the finish.
“The track is in superb order and should be suitable for every horse,” Weld said.
“I think it is in the best condition I’ve seen it in 20 years.”
“It’s firmer than I’d like, but you never know, we might get a spot of rain.”
As well as being happy with the track, Weld was more than pleased with the condition of Galileo’s Choice when he laid eyes on the seven year old for the first time in a month at Werribee this morning.
Race jockey Patrick Smullen accompanied Weld to Werribee and put Galileo’s Choice through his paces and both were pleased with what they saw.
“I’m delighted with the horse. He is a very talented galloper,” Weld said.
“He’s a Media Puzzle sort of horse who’ll represent us very well.”
Galileo’s Choice took a little time to settle into his new surroundings when he arrived from Ireland after suffering from a slight bout of travel sickness, but was quick to recover.
‘He did not travel well but has improved with every week he has been here,” Weld said.
“He had a problem with transit fever when he first arrived but he was able to be treated and got over it very quickly.”
Galileo’s Choice is a winner of eight races from sixteen starts and even though he has won on good tracks, his chances would improve on a soft surface.
And as well as winning on the flat, Galileo’s Choice has also won over the jumps and will try to emulate Vintage Crop who also came to Australia with the reputation of being a hurdler, but that didn’t stop him taking the Melbourne Cup back to Ireland.
Galileo’s Choice’s latest form has been good with wins from his last two outings at Leopardstown in Ireland and the 3200m won’t be a problem with victorys over that distance and further.
Two starts back the seven year old was any easy two lengths winner when ridden by Smullen in the Listed €40,000 Challenge Stakes (2816m) on July 19 and Smullen was on board again when the pair took out the Group 3 €57,500 Ballyroan Stakes (2414m) on August 9.
Galileo’s Choice will jump from barrier eleven and is a $16 chance in Melbourne Cup betting but no doubt will shorten up on Cup day if the expected rain arrives at Flemington.
2010 winner Americain heads the market at $6.50 with Dunaden and Mount Athos sharing the next line of betting at $7.50.
Last year’s runner-up Red Cadeaux is at $9.50 with Maluckyday at $14 while Green Moon and the Luca Cumani trained My Quest For Peace are at $17 with Lights Of Heaven the only other runner under the 20-1 mark at $19.