Team Hawkes and many loyal followers are hoping Maluckyday is the horse to repel the international raiders in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington today.
Maluckyday is the best priced Australian trained Melbourne Cup runner at $15 and the Hawkes team is hoping the six year can go one better than two years ago when he ran a mighty race to finish second to Americain.
In early morning betting moves Americain has lost his spot at the head of betting and has drifted to $7.50 while last year’s winner Dunaden and the Luca Cumani trained Mount Athos share favouritism at $7.
Owner Nick Moraitis knows what it is like to win a Melbourne Cup and has called on the services of veteran jockey Jimmy Cassidy to relive the dream after he combined with Might And Power to lead all of the way in winning the 1997 Cup.
“I was lucky enough to win the Melbourne Cup before and, believe me, it is a feeling that is indescribable,” Moraitis said.
“I’d love to think we can pull it off again … let’s just say we are going to try our best.”
“I don’t mind being the ‘great Aussie hope’.”
“There’s a lot of very good horses in this year’s Cup, they are calling this the best Cup in years, and there are so many internationals in the race, it is just an honour to have a runner.”
Maluckyday went into the Cup two years ago with winning form and ran up to that with a second to Americain but had to miss last year’s Cup when the six year old contracted pneumonia and was off the scene for almost a year.
But Team Hawkes has taken the Zabeel gelding along steady getting him back to form with a second to Tanby in the Listed $120,000 The Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington on October 6.
Maluckyday then went to Geelong and in a small field in a sit and sprint race that didn’t suit, could only manage to beat two runners home in the Group 3 $300,000 Centrebet Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong on October 24 won by Gatewood.
But connections were very happy with the run and are anticipating a bold showing from Maluckyday today.
“His trainer, John Hawkes, said to give the horse time, let nature heal, and the horse has come good,” Moraitis said.
“His last two runs, he should have won them both, but at least it showed us he was back.
“I know my trainer and my jockey think the horse can run well so that is good enough for me.”
The Flemington track is rated a Dead 4 for Melbourne Cup day and the forecast of a possible shower should be enough for the track to suit the majority of the Cup runners.