Ahead of the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, horse racing broadcaster Rupert Bell sets the scene for one of Australia’s biggest sporting events.
Listen to Rupert’s interview with John Ferguson, Chief Executive and Racing Manager for Godolphin, here:
Listen to Rupert’s interview with Charlie Appleby, Godolphin trainer, here:
It did not look good for Oceanographer’s supporters rounding the home turn, with the market leader still last and the pacesetting Tom Melbourne looked set to score after going clear.
However, once straightened up, Oceanographer engaged overdrive and got up to land the extended mile-and-a-half prize by half a length.
Trainer Charlie Appleby said: “I saw him on the track this morning jumping and kicking, so we knew he was in good form.”
Appleby will also saddle Qewy, Saeed bin Suroor is set to run beautiful romance and Secret Number and John O’Shea has ante-post favourite Hartnell.
Promising apprentice George Buckell was in the saddle for Champion Owner Sheikh Hamdan and produced a perfectly-timed challenge having taken his time until halfway.
The pair set sail for home with 300m to run, soon bursting clear and never looking likely to be caught. Buckell said: “He is a talented sprinter but has not been easy to train. Last season he did nearly all his work on the treadmill but he is like a new horse this time.
“He has plenty of natural speed and hopefully will build on this with a clear preparation between races.”
The trainer had combined with stable jockey, Fernando Jara, to win the preceding 1600m handicap with the ultra consistent Enery.
It was a brave effort from the winner who was only third entering the final 50m, passing both Pupil and eventual runner-up, Almohtaseb in the closing stages. Jara said: “This horse really deserved another win as he has to run so many brave races in defeat. He always tries his utmost and is a tough customer.”
The first race of the season, a 1950m handicap, provided the perfect opportunity for Erwan Charpy and new stable jockey Antonio Fresu to christen their alliance in style with Tadmir.
The maiden on the card was over the minimum trip of 1000m in which Bruno Reis and Rashed Bourely combined with Salvadori.
The Emirates Racing Authority have staged three bloodstock sales in 2016 and two trainers and owners were left celebrating speedy returns on their new acquisitions.
For Nasir Askar, the victory of the Satish Seemar-trained Secret Ambition in a 1400m handicap under Richard Mullen leaves the new owner celebrating a 100 per cent strike rate.
Mullen said: “These sales are ideal for attracting new owners and that is exactly the case with Nasir; what a start for him with his very first runner.”
Pat Dobbs was in the saddle for Doug Watson aboard the aptly named Fast Enough who proved just that in the concluding 1200m handicap. His new owner Mohamed Khalifa Al Basti opened his UAE account last season with 10 winners.