Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 08:19 03/11/2014
While Britain is still awaiting it's first Emirates Melbourne Cup victory Ireland have already landed the ' race that stops a nation ' on two occasions, first with Vintage Crop in 1993 and nine years later with another Dermot Weld-trained runner in Media Puzzle, and the Emerald Isle can claim it's third win at Flemington Park in the early hours of tomorrow morning with Mutual Regard, available at a standout 11-1 with Racebets.
Since hanging up his saddle five-time Irish Flat Champion Jockey Johnny Murtagh has made an instant impact in the world of training. There is no doubt plenty of successful days lie ahead for the one-time John Oxx apprentice and in the five-year-old son of Hernando he has a horse who is capable of putting him on the world stage sooner rather than later. The winner of 7 of his 17 starts Mutual Regard has been trained with this race in mind since beating Lord Van Percy a length and a quarter in Europe's richest handicap, the Betfred Ebor at York back in August, and with the two mile trip no problem should take plenty of beating with just 8st 9lb to carry.
Last year's winning jockey Damien Oliver has been booked for the mount and the top rider can take the race for the fourth time after being handed what looks an ideal draw in stall 12. Mutual Regard will be having just his fourth start for Murtagh since joining him from the Sir Mark Prescott stable and there looks to be plenty more improvement to come from the gelding who should be spot-on for the race worth over £2 million to the winner.
As always there are a host of strongly fancied contenders and the one who could give the selection most problems is the German runner Protectionist, the mount of the globetrotting Ryan Moore. The lightly-raced son of Monsun has some strong Group form to his name before going down by only a length in his prep race at Caulfield last month and looks sure to go close at the 7-1 on offer with Skybet and Coral.