Hong Kong-owned Deauville Legend is favourite to win Australia’s most famous race, the HK$39 million G1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), which highlights the seven races to be simulcast from Flemington on Tuesday (1 November).
Deauville Legend, raced by Boniface K K Ho, is a last-start winner of the G2 Great Voltigeur Stakes (2371m) at York and bids to become the third northern hemisphere-bred three-year-old to win the G1 3200 metres handicap in six years.
Rekindling was the first to do so in 2017 and was immediately followed by Cross Counter the following year. Il Paradiso, third in 2019, and the 2020 runner-up Tiger Moth are the only northern hemisphere three-year-olds to contest the race since Cross Counter’s success.
A LONGINES Hong Kong International Races invitee, Deauville Legend has lead-up form in England which mirrors that of Cross Counter, who was ridden by jockey Kerrin McEvoy – who seeks a record-equalling fourth Melbourne Cup win.
The Sea The Stars gelding, trained by James Ferguson, is a veteran of just seven starts – the same number of starts Cross Counter had before his victory.
“I do feel that with the weight he’s been given, that he’s got a very good chance because he’s coming here with a lot of form, but it’s a very competitive race,’’ said Ferguson, who began training in only 2019 but has previously travelled horses to Australia when in the employ of Godolphin’s Charlie Appleby.
Simon and Ed Crisford trained Without A Fight, to be ridden by reigning British champion jockey William Buick, is the only other overseas trained runner this year while G1 Epsom Derby (2405m) runner-up Hoo Ya Mal debuts in Australia for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, as does Irish stayer Camorra for Ben and JD Hayes.
Victoria’s premier stable of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace will be represented by five runners, including the G1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) runner-up Gold Trip who was fourth in the 2020 G1 Prix de l’arc de Triomphe (2400m).
Victory would have Maher join David Hayes, Chris Waller and Danny O’Brien as the only active trainers to have won the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups and the Cox Plate. Waller is without a runner, while O’Brien has the 2019 winner Vow And Declare along with Young Werther.