Royal Diamond is currently available at the lengthy 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $81 and he was unwanted at the Call Of The Card this afternoon, but trainer Johnny Murtagh remains confident that the tough stayer can be more than competitive at Flemington tomorrow.
Royal Diamond opened at $51 in Melbourne Cup betting markets after the final field was released at the conclusion of Victoria Derby Day, but the King’s Best gelding has been completely unwanted by punters and there was very little interest when as much as $91 was offered.
The lengthy Melbourne Cup odds on offer for Royal Diamond has not dulled the optimism of Murtagh and the former jockey told Racing Ahead this morning that he has been happy with the way that the veteran stayer has settled in Australia.
“He has settled into Australia very well,” Arnold said.
“He is out there at Werribee and he is very happy.
“He is moving very well and the girl that rides him every morning is very happy.”
Royal Diamond does not have a particularly notable turn-of-foot and is an old fashioned style of stayer that has grinded out victories in top races like the 2012 edition of the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2816m) and the Group 3 British Champions Long Distance Cup (3218m) at Ascot at the end of last year.
Murtagh believes that there is no question whatsoever over the ability of Royal Diamond to run out a strong 3200 metres and he revealed that jockey Steven Arnold is likely to press forward on the eight-year-old in the early stages of the race, which he believes gives the gritty galloper the best possible chance to record a second win at Group 1 level.
“He stays the trip very well and he has a very high cruising speed, so I think he will stay the trip out well, which he will probably need to do with the big track because it will take a bit of getting,” Murtagh said.
“He is the ideal horse to bring out here; he normally begins well from the gates, he can be forward from in the run and if he gets close the top of the straight he should run down the last 400 metres very strongly.”
Arnold will be riding in the Melbourne Cup for the seventh time, but he is still chasing his first win after finishing third on So You Think in 2010 and missing the placings with Sea Moon (2013), Railings (2007), Pentastic (2003), Sandmason (2002) and Mardipour (1999).
Admire Rakti ($6) remains a clear favourite in 2014 Melbourne Cup betting markets from Lucia Valentina ($7.50), Signoff ($7.50), Fawkner ($8) and Protectionist ($8).