Melbourne Cup 2014: Rob Waterhouse says first up raiders are kidding themselves
TELL ‘em they’re dreamin.’
Bookmaking kingpin Rob Waterhouse says Melbourne Cup international invaders who haven’t raced in Australia this Spring are making up the numbers tomorrow.
Irish champion Vintage Crop in 1993 remains the only northern hemisphere-trained horse to win the Melbourne Cup in their first start on Australian soil.
There have since been 73 overseas horses try to pinch the Cup first-up Down Under but all have gone home from their hit-and-run mission with their tail between their legs.
There are 11 internationals in tomorrow’s Cup and for seven of them (Gatewood, Royal Diamond, Mutual Regard, Willing Foe, My Ambivalent, Cavalryman and Red Cadeaux) it will be their first start in Australia this Spring.
“There are so many horses since Vintage Crop who have lined up in the Cup without first having a start in Australia and not one of them has won yet,’’ Waterhouse told The Courier-Mail.
“It is their loss. History shows it is a very, very hard to do what they are trying to do.”
Waterhouse, whose wife Gai won last year’s Cup with Fiorente, is tipping Fawkner ($11) as the horse to beat tomorrow.
A noted Cup form student, Waterhouse says having such a big international contingent makes it tougher to find the Cup winner than it was a decade ago.
But he insists having a United Nations of horses makes the Cup a stronger and more interesting race.
And he won’t hear of suggestions that international raiders should be forced to have an Australian start before running in the Cup.
“I am a free market thinker and I think that is outrageous,’’ Waterhouse said.
“I actually relish having all these international horses in the Cup and I think it makes it much more interesting.
“It has meant things have changed from a race that most people were mildly interested in, to being the huge race it is today.
“But it is far more complex doing the form. Once there were only two or three feeder races for the Melbourne Cup but now they come from everywhere.”
Bookmaker, punter and owner Michael Sullivan is another big fan of the internationalisation of the Cup.
The form lines might be harder to decipher but Sullivan says modern technology means punters have no excuses.
“In 2014 there are so many ways to view form and video that if you really want to see a horse and what it has done, there are 100 ways to do it,’’ Sullivan says.
“I really believe the internationals are good for the race.
“The reality of Admire Ratki winning the Caulfield Cup was before that it ran fourth in the Japan Cup and that is a very strong form race.
“I also think that in the last 10 years the internationals have realised they can’t send B-graders down here.
“They now know you have to send a real horse over to win the Melbourne Cup.’’