Melbourne Cup 2016: Gai Waterhouse predicts Australian-trained winner, defends quality of race

Home support: Gai Waterhouse is adamant the winner of the Melbourne Cup will be prepared by an Australian. Photo: bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
Nanjing Night Net

A defiant Gai Waterhouse has predicted an Australian-trained horse will repel the challenge of the internationals and win the Melbourne Cup while launching a passionate defence of the slumping entries and quality in the race.

As she searches for her second Cup winner in the space of three years with $61 hope Excess Knowledge, Waterhouse blamed the cyclical nature of the country’s staying stocks for triggering a low-key build-up to the first Tuesday in November.

“There are times where you don’t have a vintage year,” Waterhouse said. “I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It might just be one of those years and we might have a really good Cup next year. I think it just ebbs and flows.

“Godolphin might have seven horses and Lloyd [Williams] is going to have four. There are still some pretty hefty numbers involved.”

But with just 32 still in contention for a spot in the $6.2 million handicap, the traditional scramble for places on the fringe of the 24-horse field has not been as ferocious this year.

Up to 10 overseas-trained horses remain in contention, but Waterhouse is adamant the winner will be prepared by an Australian conditioner.

“I’m quite confident in my fellow trainers and I still think one of the locally-trained horses will win,” Waterhouse said. “It’s hard to get a gauge on the Japanese [Curren Mirotic] and you’ve got to respect them as they’re always serious contenders.”

Godolphin’s army is likely to include Caulfield Cup runner-up Scottish, but his handler James Ferguson said on Tuesday that Winx’s no-show in the Emirates Stakes on the final day of the Flemington carnival may have a bearing on Sheikh Mohammed’s plans.

“If she was going to run – she won the Cox Plate so fantastically – you’d be a bit foolish to take her on if she were to run in the Emirates Stakes,” Ferguson said.

“Obviously it makes that option a bit more viable … I haven’t been told a final decision yet so I’m just heading in the one direction. At the moment a decision hasn’t been made, [but] he could easily go for the Emirates Stakes.”

But Waterhouse has a one-track mind about Excess Knowledge, who used an 11th hour golden ticket after winning the Lexus Stakes last year to produce arguably his best performance since being in Australia when finishing seventh in the Melbourne Cup.

Vlad Duric will maintain the ride after the horse wobbled around the tight circuit when fourth in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup last Saturday.

“He is going under the radar,” Waterhouse said. “He caused his own luck on Saturday and he rolled around like a big whale in the straight. Vlad came off him and said, ‘put him in blinkers and I think you’ll get a much better result’.

“He’s got the right weight, he’s a proven performer and he’s probably at the right age to win the Cup, he looks well and I’m extremely pleased.”

Waterhouse’s chances of going back-to-back in the Lexus Stakes will rest with out-of-sorts Canberra Cup winner Hippopus, who doesn’t hold an entry in the Melbourne Cup.

“He’s a funny old thing and he wins every two years,” Waterhouse said. “He’s going about as well as Hippopus can and he’ll be 100-1 and if you have a bet on him he might pop up.”

Godolphin lodged a late entry for the Lexus Stakes with Oceanographer on Tuesday given the horse is a Melbourne Cup fringe dweller at No.29. He can secure his passage into the race with victory on Saturday.

The ultimate racing form guide with free tips, live odds and alerts for all racing.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.