The Bart & James Cummings-trained Precedence missed out on a run in last year’s Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) by just one spot but the nine-year-old gelding safely earned his place in the field for this year’s race.
Now that the gelding has made the race he will have to overcome a wide start, after drawing barrier 20 of 24 on Saturday evening.
The outside barriers were all secured early, with owners grimacing as they made their chances at winning the 2014 Melbourne Cup that much harder. OTI Racing, who have four horses in the race, were unlucky with three of their runners drawing wide all next to each other – Brambles (21), Gatewood (22), and Au Revoir (23).
James Cummings however has said he is not that concerned with the wide start and doesn’t believe it will be too much of an issue.
“He is racing in great heart,” he told TVN.
“He won the Queen Elizabeth last year and was always going to make his way in.
“There has been no pressure to get him into the race and it is a big thrill for me to have a Cup runner.”
The 3200 metre start at Flemington is great for the runners of the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup. Due to the 1000m run down the home straight, all horses have the chance to move into a favourable position – even those drawn very wide like Precedence.
Barrier 20 has brought home two winners in the race’s history, the last of which was Empire Rose in 1988.
James only began his training partnership with his grandfather in 2013 so Precedence will be his first Melbourne Cup runner.
The gelding won the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) last year after failing to make the field for that year’s Melbourne Cup and has since followed it up with minor placings in the Group 2 A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) and Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2200m) early this year.
His form leading into the 2014 Melbourne Cup is solid after two fifth finishes in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) and Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m).
Punters aren’t sure Precedence has what it takes to win the ‘race that stops the nation’ however, he’s an outside $101 bet at Ladbrokes.com.au.