The Melbourne Cup is known as the race that stops a nation. It is Australia’s biggest thoroughbred horse race and the richest ‘two-mile’ handicap in the world.
Willie Mullins’ is arguably Ireland’s most prestigious horse trainer. However, he has yet to win Australia’s most prestigious race.
Ruby Walsh has reported that the champion trainer will again be sending a strong team to Melbourne in search of that elusive victory. Walsh reckons that Stratum will head up Mullins’ team.
Speaking to Paddy Power, the brand ambassador said, “Stratum 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. I wouldn’t be certain that he’ll get into the Ebor but he’s in really good order.”
Paddy Power has Stratum as the 4/1 favourite for the Ebor.
Walsh highlighted a number of Mullins’ horses that could compete in the Melbourne Cup, but cited the difficulty of the race’s qualification system.
“Limini, Gustavus Vassa, Chelkar, Thomas Hobson and Whiskey Sour are all horses who could be the right type for a Melbourne Cup too, 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. It’s the race that stops a nation but it has very little dead wood in it as it’s very difficult to get into.”
The legendary Jockey added that our racing system is based on ratings as opposed to current form, with the English Grand National being the obvious exception.
“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.”
Walsh highlighted a number of events for racing fans to keep an eye on in preparation for the Melbourne Cup.
Walsh added, “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 to us.”
The Melbourne Cup takes place at Flemington Racecourse on November 6.