Japanese trainer Tomoyuki Umeda agrees with punters and bookmakers that second favourite Lucia Valentina will be the hardest for Admire Rakti to beat in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.
Lucia Valentina chased home Admire Rakti when third to the Japanese stayer in the Group 1 $3m Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 18 and the Kris Lees trained mare meets him half a kilo better in the Melbourne Cup.
“The competition is strong, but she is the one we have to beat,” Umeda told Racing Network.
Admire Rakti was installed the Melbourne Cup favourite after winning the Caulfield Cup and is currently marked at $4.80 with Ladbrokes.com.au with Lucia Valentina the second pick at $7.
“We hope the punters are right,” Umeda said.
Umeda is anticipating that Admire Rakti will relish the long Flemington straight after just getting wound up at the the end of the 2400m of the Caulfield Cup.
Lucia Valentina will also appreciate the big open spaces of Flemington after also during her best work at the end of the mile and a half at Caulfield.
The Japanese trainer was at the TAB International Horse Centre at Werribee this morning to oversee Admire Rakti go through his final paces in the lead up to next Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.
The handsome stayer competed the final 400m of his 2000m gallop in 23.49sec and Umeda is very pleased with his progress since his Caulfield Cup win.
After initially opposing any Melbourne Cup penalty for his win at Caulfield, the Admire Rakti camp said that they were content with the half a kilo extra that Greg Carpenter, the Racing Victoria General Manager – Racing, added to his original handicap of 58kgs.
“We are very happy with the horse, very happy with the weight,” travelling foreman Go Shogemi said.
“We expected more and think the weight is fair.”
In other Melbourne Cup betting German visitor Protectionist is a $7.50 chance after an eye catching fourth at his only Australian start to Big Memory in the Group 2 $200,000 Sportingbet Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 11.
Cox Plate runner up Fawkner is next in the market order at $8 followed by Mutual Regard at $11, Red Cadeaux and Signoff at $17, Araldo at $19 and Who Shot Thebarman and Willing Foe at $21.