Having tasted success in the Race That Stops a Nation via talented import Green Moon most recently in 2012, renowned owner Lloyd Williams is confident several local runners likely to accept into the 2014 Melbourne Cup final field are more than capable of upsetting the classy international contingent at Flemington next Tuesday.
Witnessing both the Caulfield Cup (Admire Rakti) and Cox Plate (Adelaide) claimed by international raiders this season, Williams believes that aside from two-time Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux, few of the eleven likely international acceptors boast relevant form at the highest level of racing.
“Put Red Cadeaux, who has Group 1 form to one side, there’s not a lot of successful Group 1 performances amongst the contingent of internationals,” Williams told The Age.
“I’m a Melburnian first and then an Australian, but I believe a local Cup win is not beyond us.
“There was no major Group 1 winner form overseas that leads the weights. We just have a group of horses that are very even this year.
“Put it this way, horses that were number 60 and 61 last year are probably 40 and 41 this year, it’s just a different line-up from what we’ve had in the past.”
Producing three qualified runners for the 2014 Melbourne Cup in Fawkner, Green Moon and Sea Moon, Williams underlined the Darren Weir-trained Signoff, who will have to win this weekend’s Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) to ensure a berth, as a leading chance of success should he gain a position.
“I like him, he’s a nice stayer and he’s the sort of horse who could win on Saturday and go straight through and win the Melbourne Cup,” Williams said.
“I’m just hoping the racing gods are on my side and Fawkner, as well as Green Moon, can be right in the finish.”
Having secured seven wins and a further four minor places from his 32 career starts so date, Green Moon has surprisingly not returned to the winner’s circle since taking out the 2012 Melbourne Cup, but has recorded several notable results in 2014 including a close run for second behind Fiorente in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m).
“We’ve got Green Moon, and of course he’s a past Melbourne Cup winner and just might relish the 3200m at Flemington,” Williams said.
Charging home to win the 2013 edition of the Caulfield Cup before progressing to a credible sixth in the Melbourne Cup, Fawkner has received an ideal lead-up to the Race That Stops a Nation this year; finishing an agonizingly close second to Dissident in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) first-up and winning the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 11th before running second in the Cox Plate last weekend.
“Fawkner showed in last year’s Melbourne Cup with his tremendous effort that winning a Cup is not beyond him, and he is also a year older,” Williams added.
Fawkner remains clear favourite of Williams’ possible three-pronged attack in Melbourne Cup betting markets, currently available of odds of $8.50 for success while Green Moon can be taken at a generous quote of $51 at Ladbrokes Australia.
Sea Moon, widely tipped to skip the 2014 Melbourne Cup, currently registers at a quote of $101 for success.