Frederico Tesio, considered by many as the greatest trainer of all time, had a saying, “Good horses breed good horses, but champions come from anywhere.” Such a comment could be applied to winners of the Melbourne Cup.
In recent years we have seen success in the race come from anywhere and everywhere. Champions like Might and Power and Makybe Diva have won the race, but there have been a greater number that would be deemed to be ranked outsiders only three months before the great race.
At OTI this year we have nominated ten horses for the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups.
1. Gailo Chop (FR) Darren Weir
2. Gallic Chieftain (FR) Darren Weir
3. Grey Lion (IRE) Matt Cumani
4. Kellstorm (IRE) Darren Weir
5. Lord Fandango (GER) Archie Alexander
6. Lord van Percy (GB) Darren Weir
7. Loresho (FR) Darren Weir
8. Master Zephyr (GB) Darren Weir
9. Night’s Watch (NZ) Darren Weir
10. Tom Melbourne (IRE) Chris Waller
While acknowledging that most will not make it to the races, to omit them from the nominations would be folly. Unlike other major races around the world, there is no provision in either Melbourne or Caulfield Cups for late entries. It would be devastating to owners to have their horse win the Herbert Power, Bart Cummings or Lexus and be unable to take its place in one of the races for the lack of a nomination.
This year’s attack on the Cups for OTI will be led by horses including Loresho, Master Zephyr, Lord Van Percy and maybe Kellstorm, full-brother to Order of St George, who has performed above expectations in his first campaign in Australia. It would not surprise to see horses like Gailo Chop and Tom Melbourne, previously thought of this 2000m types in Europe, find their way into the rich races.
Every year Melbourne Cup produces a surprise or two. Last year, we were astounded when only there were only 23 runners in the final field. 2015 produced the 100/1, Prince of Penzance, ridden by Michelle Payne, the first woman to win the race. One thing is for sure – the 2017 Caulfield and Melbourne Cups will take their own unique place in racing history.
For the next two months, many of our owners will dream of having a horse in the great races. Let’s hope some from the OTI team gets to experience that thrill. Better still, let’s hope one of the team can attain the holy grail of horse racing in Australia.