Beware the Italian stallion
ONE Melbourne Cup runner will have a little swagger about him. He's Voila Ici, who may never win another cent on the racetrack but will always be remembered as the Italian stallion who caught the eye of Australia's darling, Black Caviar.
By all reports, Voila Ici turned in a solid performance to impress Black Caviar on the plane back from England, then continued to do his best when the pair arrived at the stables of Peter Moody.
Seems as though his charms could not be denied, as Black Caviar took a growing interest in him.
The grey-haired smoothie is an eight-year-old stallion, so it's a fair bet his mind has wandered into other potential pursuits.
He may well be asking himself the purpose of running as fast as he can for as long as he can when life clearly offers something a little more rewarding.
But while he's stuck in training and out of the reach of the females, Voila Ici might have resigned himself to his fate. He's a racehorse and he might as well run out all his frustrations on the track.
Voila Ici showed solid form at his first few Australian runs before spoiling his record with a less than flattering run in the Caulfield Cup. But he drew off the track that day and jostled for the lead in a race where the backmarkers were favoured. He'll press forward again today and is way over the odds.
Cavalryman the final charge
GODOLPHIN'S Cup hope, Cavalryman, appeals to both the head and heart.
To begin with, his credentials to be a Melbourne Cup winner cannot be denied. The seven-year-old stallion goes into the Cup about a $35 chance, but consider this: He has never carried such a low weight as 54 kilograms in his life before; has raced at the elite level - group 1 races - in 12 of his 27 starts; and carries with him a third placing - beaten just two lengths - behind superstar Sea The Stars in the 2009 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Notably his best efforts since that performance over 2400 metres in France three years ago have been when he has risen in distance to 3200 metres. He is drawn ideally for the smother run in barrier six. If that occurs, he will be one of the first horses presented at the business end he will stay the trip.
His trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, said that Cavalryman was one of the best horses the stable had sent for the task down under, a challenge that has eluded as many as 16 Godolphin runners since the 1990s.
Now for the heart. There is something about this push by Godolphin to win this race. It could be the last feature race that Godolphin legs aboard its long-time No. 1 stable rider Frankie Dettori. The jockey and Sheikh Mohammed's global outfit have announced their split by the end of the year.
Dettorie knows a bit about timing. His Melbourne Cup fortunes have mostly coincided with those of the Godolphin stable.
They came close in 1999 with a second placing from $51 chance Central Park, and that was followed two years later by another second placing from Give The Slip.
Fortune favours the brave
TODAY'S quadrella is one of the great challengers ever presented to punters, but just like last Saturday, when the quaddie paid more than $126,000, you will be well rewarded if you can nab the final four winners.
So open are each of the four legs, that it will cost a fortune to include all the chances, so we have to find one horse to pin our hopes on. That will allow us to stack the other legs and try for a small percentage of the dividend.
The quaddie is a strange beast that offers so much yet rarely delivers. So, when faced with the near impossible challenge on Cup day, we are depending heavily on the entertainment value that a quaddie can offer. Few things on a racetrack can get the heart racing like a big-priced, first-leg winner, so let's go heavy early and skinny late.
The first leg is the Melbourne Cup, where all bar about five horses can win. But we have to restrict ourselves to 10 chances.
In the second leg, let's try to narrow it to five hopes: Lightinthenight (No. 1), Eraset (No. 8), Mr Chard (No. 9), Tribal Rock (No. 12) and Menados (No. 13).
In the third leg, down the straight, we need another 10 hopes.
That leaves the final leg. Cornell (Race 10, No. 6) showed good potential in the autumn and performs well fresh. We'll take him one-out and if we're alive in the quaddie coming to the last, he'll give us something to cheer at the end of a long day.