The 2014 Melbourne Cup will not feature a Gai Waterhouse-trained runner after the leading Sydney trainer revealed that one-time favourite The Offer would not take his place in ‘the race that stops a nation’ at Flemington next Tuesday.
The Offer stamped himself as a clear favourite for the Melbourne Cup when he recorded a dominant four lengths victory in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on April 19, but the imported stayer has not been overly impressive in his four race starts during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
The Montjeu entire started his spring preparation in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 6 and he worked home strongly in the final stages of the race to finish fifth behind The Cleaner.
The Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 20 was not run to suit The Offer and he could finish no better than ninth before he worked home fairly without ever really getting into the race in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4.
The Offer’s chances of returning to winning form in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) took a hit when he was allocated an outside barrier and he was forced to undergo a check from Racing Victoria vets on the morning of the race after he was found with signs of lameness during the week.
The Sydney Cup winner was passed fit to run in the Caulfield Cup, but jockey Tommy Berry was forced to settle the five-year-old towards the tail of the field before he worked home in the last 800 metres to finish 11th.
While The Offer was only beaten by three and a half lengths in the Caulfield Cup, Waterhouse was reportedly not happy with the condition of the imported galloper coming out of the race and she informed Racing Victoria stewards this morning that he would not take his place in the 2014 Melbourne Cup field.
The withdrawal of The Offer means that Araldo is all but guaranteed a start in the Melbourne Cup and he will not contest the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday, while Waterhouse is left without a runner in ‘the race that stops a nation’ and is no chance of becoming the first trainer since Bart Cummings in 1991 to win the Melbourne Cup in back-to-back years with different horses.
Admire Rakti ($4.80) remains a clear favourite in 2014 Melbourne Cup betting markets from Protectionist ($7), Lucia Valentina ($7.50), Fawkner ($9) and Mutual Regard ($10).