The next eight days are arguably the pinnacle of the international racing calendar, with fans able to enjoy the upcoming Breeders' Cup races as well as the Australian racing extravaganza that is the Emirates Melbourne Cup Carnival. Hosted by the Victoria Racing Club at Flemington Racecourse, the four race days include the AAMI Victoria Derby Day as well as the Cup itself, the richest two-mile handicap in the world with a $6.2 million AUD ($4.7 million) purse.
With the time difference between Melbourne and California, US race fans can experience the Breeders' Cup races at Del Mar this Friday, Nov. 3rd, and Saturday, Nov. 4th, then enjoy Friday night's Derby Day card live on skyracingworld.com. All attention will turn to the Melbourne Cup Carnival next week, with the running of the G1 Emirates Melbourne Cup on Monday, the Kennedy Oaks on Wednesday, and next Friday's Emirates Stakes.
AAMI Victoria Derby Day
In the countdown to the Arrogate–Gun Runner showdown in the Breeders' Cup Classic, the international racing focus will be on Derby Day at Flemington. Racing gets underway at 11:45 am Melbourne time on Saturday, Nov. 4th (8:45 pm EST or 5:45 pm PST on Friday, Nov. 3rd). Derby Day features nine Group races, four of which are at the G1 level. These include the Coolmore Stud Stakes, Myer Classic, and Kennedy Mile as well as the Victoria Derby itself.
Run over 12 furlongs, the Derby is the day's highlight. It's Australia's oldest classic race and the richest staying event for 3-year-olds, with a purse of $1.5 AUD million ($1.1 million).
In a wide-open betting market, the early Derby favorite Main Stage, who was sired by Reliable Man, has drifted to 5/1 odds after drawing barrier 14. However, if his win in the listed UCI Stakes at Flemington on Turnbull Stakes Day last month is any indication, Main Stage can overcome a wide barrier and shouldn't be dismissed. At 4/1, the bookies have installed the son of High Chaparral, Ace High (barrier 3), as favorite and are keeping the Snitzel-sired colt Tangled safe at 6/1.
Of the other races, the G1 Kennedy Mile is drawing attention, as Chris Waller, the trainer behind the legendary Winx, has 6 of the 14 runners. His best-backed horse is Tom Melbourne at 6/1 odds. The Irish-bred 7-year-old is looking to break through for an overdue win.
Emirates Melbourne Cup
The jewel in the crown of Australian racing and the race that stops the nation will have a much wider reach than just its home country when it runs at 3:00 pm local time on Tuesday, Nov. 7th (12:00 midnight EST or 9:00 pm PST on Monday, Nov. 6th).
The 157th running of the Melbourne Cup welcomes back Almandin, last year's champion and current favorite, with 11/2 odds. He is looking to defend his title from a superb field and win a second consecutive Cup, last achieved in 2004 by Makybe Diva.
Trained by Robert Hickmott, Almandin will be ridden by legendary UK-based Italian jockey Frankie Dettori. He will be flying to Melbourne for the Cup after attempting a record fifth win in this Saturday's Breeders' Cup Turf – this time riding Ulysses.
Trying to thwart Dettori, Almandin and Hickmott will be jockey Blake Shinn, trainer Darren Weir (the driving force behind Prince of Penzance's stellar 2015 Cup campaign), and Humidor, who has odds of 13/2.
Shinn, who mounted four winners on Cox Plate Day, will ride the New Zealand-bred 5-year-old, who placed second in the Cox Plate last week. Humidor becomes the first horse to compete in all three Melbourne majors (Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup) since 2008, when Master O'Reilly accomplished the feat.
Kennedy Oaks Day
The action at Flemington continues just two days after the Cup with Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday Nov. 9th. Races start at 12:15 pm local time (9:15 pm EST or 6:15 pm PST on Wednesday, Nov. 8th). The day's feature race is the G1 Kennedy Oaks, a classic for three-year-old fillies over 12 furlongs, with $1 million AUD (US$764 000) in prize money.
The hot favorite this year is New Zealand-bred Aloisia, with odds of 13/20 following her impressive win over the colts in last weekend's G2 Drummond Golf Vase at Melbourne's Moonee Valley and a victory in the G1 Thousand Guineas at Caulfield earlier in October. Favorites have a good record of winning the Oaks – nine out of the last 15 races.
That said, last year Lasqueti Spirit beat 100/1 odds to win the race after leading it from the start. An upset isn't out of the question, especially when the field includes the Gai Waterhouse-trained Pinot. Her Oaks odds of 4/1 follows a win in the Oaks Trial at Flemington in September.
Emirates Stakes Day
The Melbourne Cup Carnival wraps up next weekend with the Emirates Stakes Day. This features the $2 million AUD ($1.5 million) G1 Emirates Stakes, which runs over 1¼ miles at 4:15 pm Melbourne time next Saturday, Nov. 11th (1:15 am EST or 11:15 am on Friday, Nov. 10th). While the field is currently taking shape, fans are eager to see Winx continue her golden streak – that is, if trainer Chris Waller nominates the three-time Cox Plate champion.
If Winx sits out the rest of the year, it could be up to 2017 Cox Plate third place-getter Folkswood and the Darren Weir-trained Gailo Chop to bring the Melbourne Cup Racing Carnival to a spectacular conclusion.
US racing fans can live-stream and wager on the major races of the Melbourne Cup Carnival using ADWs such as TVG, TwinSpires, Xpressbet, NYRA Bets, WatchandWager, HPIbet, AmWager, and BetAmerica. Punters can also pick up free past performances and race information at Sky Racing World.
About David Haslett
A former Managing Director of Sportech Racing, David was appointed President and CEO of Sky Racing World in April 2014. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company, a subsidiary of Australian wagering firm Tabcorp, provides Australian, South African and South Korean racing content for simulcast horse-race wagering to multiple North America-facing ADW brands and race-tracks.
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