Melbourne Cup Preparations Begin For International Competitors

June 20th, 2011

With the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival on the horizon a number of international competitors are already aiming themselves at a 2011 Melbourne Cup campaign.

Among the horses to have set their sights on the $6 million Cup is Luca Cumani’s Drunken Sailor.

Drunken Sailor’s trainer pinned his horse as a contender after his recent third place finish at Royal Ascot.

The six-year-old gelding made the trip to Australia in the hope of a Melbourne Cup start last year, however, did not make the field.

Cumani is happy with Drunken Sailor’s progress and thinks he will be a definite winning chance this year.

“He’s come a long way from winning handicaps to being placed in a Group Two,” he said.

Another trainer who is preparing his horse for this year’s Melbourne Cup is William Haggis.

Haggis’s Harris Tweed finished fifth in last year’s race and the trainer is hopeful that the five-year-old will be able to improve further on his performance this time around.

Harris Tweed finished second behind Aidan O’Brien’s Await The Dawn at Ascot last start, a result that has not fazed Haggis in the slightest.

“I think we’ve been beaten by an extraordinarily good horse who will go on to win multiple Group Ones,” he said.

“We’ve given him a race and I’m keen to save him for the autumn (Australian spring).”

While Haggis himself is excited about the prospect of another Melbourne Cup attempt, he feels his elderly father may decide to keep him at home.

“The Melbourne Cup looks an exciting idea, but my father owns him and he’s 80, so I’m not sure he’ll be as keen to go as me,” Haggis said.

This year’s Melbourne Cup will take place on Tuesday November 1st at Flemington Racecourse.