Connections of Brigantin pray for Melbourne Cup drop outs
French trained stayer Brigantin is in the most stressful position in the Melbourne Cup order of entry and connections will be praying all week for some unexpected dropouts.
Looking to make it three Melbourne Cup victories in a row for the French, Brigantin sits 30th in the order of entry but the final field will only accommodate 24.
The expected withdrawals from the world’s richest handicap are expected to rule out Manighar (3rd), Midas Touch (11th) and Seville (19th) which would leave Brigantin 27th in the order of entry.
Precedence (26th), Unusual Suspect (27th) and Moudre (28th) all currently sit above Brigantin in the order of entry but it is difficult to mount a case for them to deserve a spot in the final field. Yet, so long as they pay up at final acceptances, they’ll make it.
29th in the order of entry is the Godolphin stayer Lost in the Moment who ran sixth in last year’s Melbourne Cup and a certainty to pay all acceptances.
Throughout the European racing season, Brigantin has been the most impressive of the French contingent, having beaten 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain and 2011 winner Dunaden on separate occasions.
So impressive have Brigantin’s runs been in Europe, Mikel Delzangles, the trainer of Dunaden has continually reinforced his thoughts of Brigantin being the horse to beat rather than his champion stayer who won the 2012 Caulfield Cup in breathtaking style.
In 2011, Brigantin defeated Dunaden and multiple Group 1 winner Manighar in the Ascot Gold Cup run over 4000m. Later in the year, Dunaden went on to win the Geelong Cup and Melbourne Cup while Manighar ran fifth in the Melbourne Cup before winning three consecutive Group 1′s in the Australian autumn.
Prior to arriving in Australia, Brigantin ran second in this year’s Group 2 Prix Kergorlay over 3000m beating home Americain. It was a race Americain won in 2010 before winning the Melbourne Cup.
The initial plan for French trainer Andre Fabre was to tackle the Group 3 Geelong Cup where a victory would have ensured a start in the Melbourne Cup. Instilled as the favourite for the Geelong Cup in a small field of seven runners, victory was assumed a mere formality.
To Brigantin and Italian jockey Umberto Raspoli’s surprise, the race was run at a terribly slow pace and the six year old horse simply did not enjoy the absence of speed.
The lack of Raspoli’s local riding experience was in full show firstly when Brigantin didn’t go to the front to speed things up and secondly on the final straight when he steered his mount into traffic twice, despite the small field of just seven runners.
The third placing in the Geelong Cup left Brigantin stranded at 30th in the Melbourne Cup order of entry with less deserving horses above him.
A number of horses, including Geelong Cup winner Gatewood, will run in the Mackinnon or Lexus this Saturday, both for fitness and to hopefully climb further up the acceptances list. These two races could further push Brigantin down the order.
At Longchamp in 2011, Brigantin and Dunaden met at equal weights over 3100m in the Group 2 Prix Vicomtesse Vigier where Brigantin won and Dunaden finished second.
If Brigantin can somehow make the final field of 24, there is a good chance of a French three-peat. He will be asked to carry a meagre 53kg compared to a horse he beat at equal weights, Dunaden, who has been allotted 59kg in this year’s Melbourne Cup.
Every year there is a hard luck story of the Melbourne Cup with one horse having to endure the unenviable position of 25th in the order of entry.
When final acceptances are made on Saturday night, trainer Andre Fabre and connections of Brigantin will have no fingernails left.
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- Melbourne Cup 2012