Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien is happy for Vow And Declare to fly the flag for the Aussies when he lines up in the 2019 Group 1 $8m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) on his home track on Tuesday.
Eleven internationally trained horses make up almost half of the twenty-four runners in this year’s Melbourne Cup plus a host of imported European stayers make Vow And Declare the leading local chance of keeping the ‘Melbourne Cup’ in Australia.
“This is the one … it is a very elusive target, more and more so with the internationalisation of the race in the last decade,” O’Brien told the Herald Sun.
“There are very few Australian connections that even get a look at it these days.
“It would be nice to think the public was keen to see an Australian horse win it, and our horse ticks every box.
“He is bred in Australia, he is owned by Australians, he is ridden (Craig Williams) and trained by Australians, I think he is the only one in the race who can say that.”
Vow And Declare ran a terrific Melbourne Cup trial with an eye catching second to Japanese raider Mer De Glace in the Group 1 $5.15m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 19 and O’Brien is confident his four year old can turn the tables stepping up to 3200m on the bigger, more open spaces of Flemington.
“Two big pluses for us – 3200m and Flemington,” O’Brien said.
“He (Mer De Glace) was too sharp for us at Caulfield.”
“We dragged him into the race and he sprinted past us.
“Our hope is that we’re going an extra 800m in the Cup and our stamina can hopefully blunt his brilliance.
“If he sprints at the end of two miles like he did at the end of a mile and a half, we’re in trouble.”
Craig Williams will stick with Vow And Declare who was out of luck at the barrier draw with gate twenty-one coming up alongside his name.
Vow And Declare will meet Mer De Glace 1kg better at the weights in the Melbourne Cup but that isn’t enough to persuade the bookies at Ladbrokes.com.au who have the Caulfield Cup winner posted as the $7 favourite in a wide open betting race.
Vow And Declare is marked at $12 on the fourth line of betting with Finche at $8 and Constantinople at $9.50 sandwiched in between the Caulfield Cup quinella.
Betting for the 2019 Melbourne Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $7 Mer De Glace, $8 Finche, $9.50 Constantinople. $12 Vow And Declare, $14 Cross Counter, Il Paradiso, $15 Surprise Baby, $18 Magic Wand, $20 Prince Of Arran, Latrobe, $21 Mustajeer, Southern France, Raymond Tusk, Downdraft, $26 Master Of Reality, $31 Youngstar, $34 Mirage Dancer, $41 Hunting Horn, Twilight Payment, $71 The Chosen One, $91 Steel Prince, $101 Rostropovich, Sound, $151 Neufbosc.