Ruby Walsh and Paddy Power cannot wait for the renewal of the Melbourne Cup, due to get underway at 4am UK time on Tuesday morning.
Australia’s most famous Flat race is the richest ‘two-mile’ handicap in the world and has attracted a star-studded field this year, despite the event taking place behind closed doors due to Coronavirus restrictions.
Both Ruby and Paddy are disappointed to not be experiencing the usual buzz that surrounds the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, but the pair are keen to see how the action unfolds at Flemington.
Speaking on the latest episode of our From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Ruby said: “Tiger Moth is the favourite, and Kerrin McEvoy rides for Aidan O’Brien.
“Anthony Van Dyck is second-favourite, while Prince of Arran is a stalwart of the race and runs as well. Stratum, who is now Stratum Albion because there is already a Stratum in Australia, runs for Willie Mullins with Jordan Childs taking the ride.
“I’ll definitely be getting up at 4am to watch it!
“Sir Dragonet won one of the premium races of the Australian season – the Ladbrokes Cox Plate – after being sold by Ballydoyle to an Australian outfit. Ciaron Maher and David Eustace are now the trainers, and Sir Dragonet got the better of his former stablemate Armory in a thrilling finish last time out. Will he get the extra distance in the Melbourne Cup? It’s hard to know but it is a fascinating race.
“It is usually a massive day out. I went for 24 hours and I never went to bed – don’t know why I got a hotel room! It’s an incredible day’s racing.”
Paddy has his own fond memories of a trip to Victoria back in 2011, with the main man winning big after Dunaden pipped Red Cadeaux in one of the closest finishes in horse racing history.
“I was there in 2011 when Dunaden beat Red Cadeaux on the line,” recalled Paddy. “I was in the Bird Cage, which is a really fancy hospitality area in the Lexus Marquee – and there is a bet they do over there where they get the first five up in the cup, which is nice and easy – and I actually got up my five in that race!
“I was part of a syndicate and we all threw in about $100 each and I made two or three grand out of it so it was deadly! It’s a great event, but the only annoying thing is you don’t know the form of the horses so it’s harder. If you knew the form and you knew the horses, it would be outrageously good. It’s such great craic.
“It starts before you even get to the track. I got a knock on the hotel room door at 9am and I answered it all bleary-eyed – it was a lady standing there with a tray of champagne glasses saying ‘Happy Cup Day!’. I thought ‘Jaysus it’s a bit early, isn’t it?’ But I took one anyway, obviously.
“I think the first race is at 10.30am or 11am, and there’s about 25 races on the card so it’s an outrageously big event. It’s amazing, and because the world is getting a bit smaller with travel etc it’s a bit easier to get northern hemisphere horses over there.
“The Aussies get a bit precious about it, because they don’t like the foreign raiders coming in and taking their money. That creates a bit of a niggle, but I think it’s a really good, healthy niggle.
“The internationalisation of racing is good. It’s much more of an event in this part of the world than it used to be.”
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