High class Irish stayer Order Of St George has been ruled out of the 2017 Group 1 $6.25m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 7.
The Aidan O’Brien, Lloyd Williams part owned Order Of St George has been allocated the top weight of 58kg for the Melbourne Cup but will now be aimed towards the Group 1 €5m QATAR Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (2400m) at Chantilly in France on October 1.
Order Of St George finished third behind Found and Highland Reel in last year’s Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe and the five year old is racing in outstanding form this campaign with wins from his last two starts.
Two starts back Order Of St George scored a runaway four and three quarter lengths wins in Group 3 €63,000 Irish St Leger Trial Stakes (2816m) at the Curragh in Ireland on August 19 and then returned to the same track to annihilate the field with a nine lengths victory in the Group 1 €500,000 Irish St Leger (2816m) on September 10.
Williams has won the Melbourne Cup on five occasions and still have a very strong hand in this this year’s ‘Race That Stops A Nation’ with twelve horses still listed in the nominations with last year’s winner Almandin leading the charge.
Almandin is on track to win back to back Melbourne Cup’s after scoring a two and three quarter lengths win in the Listed $120,000 Japan Racing Association Trophy (2500m) at Flemington last Saturday and is now the outright $8 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au for the famous two miler on the first Tuesday in November.
With Order Of St George not coming to Melbourne for the Cup, the James Cummings trained Hartnell will now be the top weight with 57.5kg with Almandin on 56.5kg.
Almandin’s part owner Nick Williams said after the running of the Japan Racing Association Trophy that the eight year old gelding had plenty of options to run in as a lead up to the Melbourne Cup and didn’t rule out a start in the Group 1 $3.15m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 21.
“I think it’s on the table, yeah,” Nick Williams said.
“I was saying the other day it’s very simple – the horse will tell us where he goes.
“Whether that’s the Bart Cummings, the Herbert Power, the Caulfield Cup, the Cox Plate, the Moonee Valley Cup … Dad and Malcolm [McLaren] will make that decision in due course.
“I wouldn’t encourage any punters to back him in the Caulfield Cup, but I wouldn’t want to dissuade them from it either.”
If the winner of the Caulfield Cup has 56kg or more in the Melbourne Cup, it won’t be penalised under a new rule that has been introduced this Spring Carnival.
Early betting for the 2017 Melbourne Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $8 Almandin, $13 Admire Deus, $15 Albert, Humidor, $17 Bonneval, Francais Of Assisi, Toberian, $21 Gingernuts, Marmelo, Ventura Storm, $26 Aloft, Big Duke, Hartnell, St Michel, Wall Of Fire, $34 or better the rest.