Aside from Max Dynamite, we at the Willie Mullins stable have very few that will be guaranteed a run in the Melbourne Cup. Max placed last year and will have a rating high enough to do so.
But even Thomas Hobson, who was sixth last year, will need to get a penalty somewhere along the line in order to get himself high enough to get in. He was placed in last year’s Doncaster Cup, which is the benchmark for him, but his rating might not be up to the mark.
Stratum either has to win the Ebor, which is a qualification race, or be placed in a Group race along with getting himself a penalty to get into the Melbourne Cup – we’ve a lot of horses in that boat. I wouldn’t be certain he’ll get into the Ebor but he’s in really good order.
Limini, Gustavus Vassa, Chelkar and Whiskey Sour are all horses who could be the right type for a Melbourne Cup but they all need to go up in the ratings to get into the race. At the minute, not too many of them will be getting into the race, but that’s the way the Melbourne Cup is.
If you don’t have good recent form or black type form, it means that you don’t necessarily get a run in the race. It’s the race that stops a nation but it has very little dead wood.
With the exception of the English Grand National, our racing is based on ratings and current form doesn’t come into it. Maybe that is something to be looked at for some of the big races or more valuable handicaps here that current form comes into it in terms of getting a run in the race.
With Stradivarius and Torcedor likely to go at it in the Lonsdale Cup, I think we’re going to give that race a wide berth in terms of gearing horses up for the Melbourne Cup.
The Irish St Leger, the Irish St Leger Trial, the Doncaster Cup and a race in Deauville at the end of the month will be of interest for us.
But whatever can get into the Melbourne Cup, Willie will love a crack at the race. It’s a huge prize and a great race to be part of. If we have horses high enough, I’m sure they’ll be travelling.