THE FINAL WORD ON THE MELBOURNE CUP CONTENDERS
1. CROSS COUNTER: “It’s a hard race to win but we think we’ve got the best horse in the race, so we’ll take our chance. He’s a bigger, stronger horse than last year” – trainer Charlie Appleby’s foreman, Chris Connett.
2. MER DE GLACE: “I’m really confident in the horse I’m riding. We’ve drawn well. It would be nice if the rain slowed down. He hasn’t performed on a soft track before but we can’t control that. The 3200m is a big question mark. But I think he will run it out” – jockey Damian Lane.
3. MASTER OF REALITY: “He’s (jockey Frankie Dettori) of the firm view that the form Master Of Reality showed that day, and obviously his lead-ups to Ascot, he said that’s the best staying form in the world” – part-owner Nick Williams.
4. MIRAGE DANCER: “The way he ran through the line in the Caulfield Cup after getting that squeeze at the top of the straight I think he’s going to be better for it. He’s had that experience racing here now and in a big field” – co-trainer Natalie Young.
5. SOUTHERN FRANCE: “He’s got the right form lines. The intensity of the work has increased and he’s in very good order” – co-trainer Ciaron Maher.
6. HUNTING HORN: “He looks a million dollars. Hunting Horn is one of those horses that has thrived here and he’s definitely taken his race well” – trainer Aidan O’Brien’s travelling foreman TJ Comerford.
7. LATROBE: “He has had the perfect preparation. He hasn’t missed a day. Everything we’ve wanted to do with him he’s done and he’s done well. And without question, he’s probably the classiest runner in the field. If there’s any question about him it’s the two miles” – part-owner Nick Williams
8. MUSTAJEER: “The positives are he is in good order and although he’s not proven at two miles, he is proven at 2800 and he can handle all types of tracks” – trainer Kris Lees.
9. ROSTROPOVICH: “He missed the start, made a mid-race move and did a lot of work up the hill at Caulfield and when they do that they find it very hard to win. We’re hoping for a big improvement” – co-Trainer Ben Hayes.
10. TWILIGHT PAYMENT: “I think he’s a horse who likes to gallop on forward… there is plenty of time to get across, we won’t rush him. I’ll just have him where he’s comfortable” – jockey Hugh Bowman.
11. FINCHE: “He’s got a nice barrier and hopefully I can give him every chance to run well. He has shown me in his trackwork that he has come out of the Caulfield Cup well and he’s nice and bright” – jockey Kerrin McEvoy
12. PRINCE OF ARRAN: “They tell me it was a very quick time for the Geelong Cup and it’s a pretty good indication for the big one I think” – trainer Charlie Fellowes.
13. RAYMOND TUSK: “I don’t think he’s got a negative – we know we stay, we know we’ll appreciate the ground, we know the jockey gets on with him, we’ve got a good draw, got a good weight” – syndicate manager Tom Palin.
14. DOWNDRAFT: “All the reports are is that he has pulled out of the race (Hotham Stakes) in good order and hopefully he can reproduce what he did on Saturday” – jockey John Allen.
15. MAGIC WAND: “She’s a very high-class filly but she’s running the distance for the first time and I wish it wasn’t raining really” – jockey Ryan Moore
16. NEUFBOSC: “He needs everything to go right. He’s drawn a hard gate and we’ll just have to see how it plays out” – co-trainer Ben Hayes.
17. SOUND: “He seems to be going well. He ran well in the Caulfield Cup and probably copped the worst of the interference” – trainer Mike Moroney.
18. SURPRISE BABY: “I think this year (barriers) mightn’t be as crucial as other years. They might run it along hopefully, so 20 might not end up being like 20” -trainer Paul Preusker.
19. CONSTANTINOPLE: “He’s got the right jockey and I think we’ve got the right conditions. Hopefully that converts to a good run” – co-trainer Ben Hayes.
20. Il PARADISO: “We’re coming down here as a lightweight. It’s a big ask but hopefully we’ll get a bit of luck on the day” – part-owner Tom Magnier.
21. STEEL PRINCE: “He’s taken no problem from his mishap at Caulfield and he’s had the fitness run at Geelong” – jockey Brett Prebble.
22. THE CHOSEN ONE: “There’s not much we can do about the draw but it would have been nice to get a little closer to the fence as we haven’t had a lot of luck like that of late” – co-trainer Andrew Forsman.
23. VOW AND DECLARE: “I think he’ll certainly be much better suited at Flemington on the bigger track and the extra distance is right up his alley as well. This is the race we thought he could win and he’s going to get there in great shape” – trainer Danny O’Brien.
24. YOUNGSTAR: “This time last year Youngstar was the horse on everybody’s lips and unfortunately her form is not quite as good as it was going into the race this time last year” – trainer Chris Waller.