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The Daily Wrap

7 min read

Jockeys happy with Cup mounts

For the second time this week, Hugh Bowman and Corey Brown have put their respective G1 Melbourne Cup mounts through a gallop at Werribee.

With Brown leading off aboard Magic Circle (IRE) (Makfi {GB}), the Bowman-ridden Marmelo (GB) (Duke Of Marmalade {IRE} joined his galloping companion at the 600m.

The former was shading his galloping partner at the end of 1200 metres.

Bowman said Marmelo, who started equal favourite when ninth to Rekindling in last year's Cup was ticking over well.

“I just wanted to sit on him, get a feel of him again for my own comfort.

"After I rode him here last Wednesday, I thought it was only fair that I went and rode Finche in the Geelong Cup before making a decision.

“Finche ran well (third) but at 54 kilos, that's a bit light for me. I think I would probably have chosen Marmelo even if they both had enough weight.”

Brown is bidding for a third Melbourne Cup victory and he was pleased with Magic Circle's work and said he was working in improved style.

“The other morning he was very flat-footed getting around the turn,” he said.

“This morning he was a lot brighter, more up underneath me on the bridle and I was happy with the way he worked.”

Brown believed Magic Circle is the right type to give him a third win, following previous success with Shocking (Street Cry {IRE}) and Rekindling (IRE} (High Chaparral {IRE}) last year.

Chasing first VRC Derby

James Cummings is hoping to end a run of G1 VRC Derby outs for Godolphin with Aramayo (Poet’s Voice {GB}) on Saturday.

He won the Classic two years ago as a public trainer with Prized Icon (More Than Ready {USA}) before taking the lead role for Sheikh Mohammed’s operation, who have had a series of near misses in the race.

“I'd be very excited to see Aramayo try to lift the homebred curse of Darley horses not being able to win a Victoria Derby yet,” Cummings said.

“The team have gone close a few times. We ran third in the race last year and there have been a number of placegetters.

“But it would be great to see the Godolphin colours win a Derby here, fresh off this season winning the Epsom Derby with Masar.”

In his first spring carnival as the Australian trainer for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin last year, Cummings had Astoria (Medaglia D’Oro {USA}) finish third in the famous royal blue silks.

That followed five previous placings for horses carrying the Darley or Godolphin colours in the race since 2010.

Major boost for Queensland

Stakes money has been boosted across Queensland following the state government’s announcement of an $18 million funding increase.

Racing Queensland (RQ) Chairman Steve Wilson said the increase of $18 million, effective from November 1, will have a particular focus on non-metropolitan racing to assist industry viability, competitiveness and participant cash flow.

“I would again like to thank Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and Treasurer Jackie Trad for their willingness to engage with Racing Queensland and industry participants on this important issue for the future of Queensland racing, which contributes $1.2 billion annually to the state economy.”

Mr Wilson said RQ and industry representatives from the harness and greyhound codes were in continued discussions about enduring funding for the viability and competitiveness of their codes.

CEO Brendan Parnell said RQ had worked to allocate the funding in a manner that would promote the viability of grassroots racing by paying 5th to 10th at all TAB races throughout Queensland, with a sliding structure of $1000-$300 dependent on meeting status.

“Non-metropolitan (Provincial) racing will be the major beneficiary, with $12.3 million allocated to provincial and country racing.”

Provincial SEQ meetings at the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Ipswich will benefit from an increase of $6.9 million, while Provincial meetings in Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns will benefit from the remaining $5.4 million.

The majority of the remaining $5.7 million will be allocated to paying runners placed 6th to 10th at mid-week and Saturday metropolitan races. All Listed races will also be raised to a minimum of $125,000.

Crowley in winning form

Jim Crowley has made an instant impact Down Under with wins in Australia aboard his first two rides Jawwaal (Snitzel) and Eshtiraak (Street Cry {IRE}) at Bendigo on Wednesday.

He is principally in Victoria to partner the John Gosden-trained Muntahaa (IRE) (Dansili {GB}) in Tuesday’s G1 Melbourne Cup.

“It's a race that I've always wanted to ride in and to go there with a live chance, it will be good.”

Muntahaa has won four races up to 2800 metres and goes to Flemington with a last-start success in the Ebor H., under 61kg to his credit.

He was ridden at York by Crowley, who has also been booked to ride Qafila (Not A Single Doubt) in Saturday’s G2 Wakeful S.

She is owned by Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Stud, who also race Muntahaa, Jawwaal and Eshtiraak.

English dream over

Duretto (GB) (Manduro {GER}) is out of the G1 Melbourne Cup after tests confirmed he is suffering from a stress fracture to his left foreleg.

The Andrew Balding-trained 6-year-old pulled up lame after trackwork on Saturday and subsequently underwent a wide range of veterinary tests.

Dwayne Dunn, who partnered Duretto into fourth in the G1 Caulfield Cup, is now without a Melbourne Cup ride.

McEvoy pleased with stayer’s work

Kerrin McEvoy described the work of his G1 Melbourne Cup mount Cross Counter (GB) (Teofilo {IRE}) at Werribee on Wednesday as sharp.

“He sat in behind Folkswood and did it stylishly,” he said. “He moved up nicely over the last two furlongs) and gave him a good blow. He galloped out nicely and I was pretty pleased with how he felt.

Cross Counter suffered a minor set-back with a cut leg that required box rest and light walking duties for a week.

“You'd prefer it not to happen, but he seems nice and well and bright so you can't worry about that now,” McEvoy said. “You just have to focus on the job at hand.”

Cross Counter has won four of his seven starts and was narrowly beaten over 2400 metres at York last time out.

“He looks very genuine and he feels as though he's been around the block,” McEvoy said. "He doesn't ride as though he's a young horse.”

End of the line for hardy Pentathlon

Retirement looms for the well-performed stayer Pentathlon (NZ) (Pentire {GB}).

Trainer Jon Wheeler said it was likely after the 7-year-old didn’t pull up 100 per cent following his last-start sixth in the Egmont Cup.

“I got him x-rayed after Hawera and he was just a bit scratchy and there are some changes in a fetlock joint,” Wheeler said.

“Within four days he has come right and is working soundly again. I am just marking time with him. I am definitely not going to Melbourne with him and I am definitely not going to the New Zealand Cup.

“I have informed the owners that I will probably retire him, but I haven’t actually done it.

“I would hate for him to break down as he is such a neat horse and he will make someone a great hack.

“It was a reasonably firm track and he probably gave something a bit of a tickle up. He’s got a bit of age on him now, but he’s only had 39 starts. The x-rays showed some changes, so I am just being really cautious.”

Pentathlon won five races and placed in the G2 Wellington Cup, G2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup, G3 Lexus Stakes and G3 New Zealand Cup.