Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien has given Downdraft the green light to back up into the Group 1 $8m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.
Downdraft secured his spot in the twenty-four horse Melbourne Cup field with an emphatic one and a half lengths win in the Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Hotham Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday and O’Brien said that reports from the stable staff suggest that the five year old has pulled up in great order.
“I suppose there’s not much you can do really. He seems to have pulled up well,” O’Brien told World Horse Racing.
“Mark Power and Chrissy, who rides the horse out and the guys that are looking after him down there are very happy with him.”
“All we can do now is get him to the race fresh and see what happens and hopefully it’s not left his mark on him but he seems to have pulled up well and he’s eaten up so hopefully he’ll be fine.”
O’Brien is on his way to Melbourne after saddling up Iridessa to win the US$2m Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (10 furlongs) at Santa Anita Park in Los Angeles on Saturday and is hoping to win his second Melbourne Cup after Corey Brown rode Rekindling to victory for him in 2017
“Delighted with Downdraft’s win last night (Saturday),” O’Brien said.
“Obviously it wasn’t ideal preparation to have to run two days out from the Melbourne Cup to get into the race but we couldn’t be happier with the manner of his victory.”
“I thought Johnny gave him a fantastic ride and I am delighted for Terry and all the OTI Partners and we’re hoping and we are hoping for a big run in the Cup.”
Victoria based Irish jockey Johnny Allen rode Downdraft to win the Hotham Stakes and will be aboard the Irish stayer again in the Melbourne Cup.
Allen will be looking for some early luck from barrier fifteen in the huge field and will be trying to find some cover in the run to the first turn out of the straight.
Downdraft escaped any Melbourne Cup penalty and will have a significant weight drop to 53.5kg after carrying 59kg to victory in the Hotham Stakes and is marked as a $21 chance with Ladbrokes.com.au.
O’Brien will also saddle up Master Of Reality (Frankie Dettori, barrier 1) and Latrobe (James McDonald, barrier 22) in the Melbourne Cup.
Mer De Glace is the firming $6.50 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Melbourne Cup and has drawn in close at gate two with Caulfield Cup winning jockey Damian Lane in the saddle again.
Betting for the 2019 Melbourne Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $6.50 Mer De Glace, $8 Constantinople. $10 Finche, $12 Vow And Declare, $13 Cross Counter, $14 Il Paradiso, $15 Surprise Baby, $17 Prince Of Arran, Mustajeer, $19 Southern France, $19 Raymond Tusk, $21 Downdraft, Latrobe, $26 Master Of Reality, Magic Wand, $31 Youngstar, $34 Hunting Horn, Mirage Dancer, $51 Twilight Payment, $67 Steel Prince, $71 Rostropovich, $81 The Chosen One, $126 Sound, $201 Neufbosc.