Everest winner Redzel jets in for Melbourne Cup Carnival curtain-closer
Sydney's superstar sprinter Redzel comes to Flemington for the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (5.10) on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival which features a host of British runners.
Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Charlie Appleby saddles Jungle Cat and Aidan O'Brien launches a four-pronged attack with US Navy Flag, Spirit Of Valor, Intelligence Cross and Fleet Review all among the 14-strong field.
Peter Sowden, co-trainer of Redzel said: "He's come through his Everest win really well. He's been bright in his work and still looks fantastic in himself. He backed up really well in this race last time and his preparation for this has been spot on.
"His trial was just what we wanted so I'm very happy with the horse. He's a professional when it comes to travelling now so he'll settle in quickly at Melbourne and I'm looking forward to another good run."
O'Brien's travelling head lad TJ Comerford said of the Ballydoyle quartet: "As long as it continues to dry out I'd think we have two decent chances. I'm hoping going in a straight line gives US Navy Flag a bit more of a chance. He’s drawn in stall 13 so might have a chance even if he's not as sharp away as the rest of them. He probably does need to lead but it's a bit different over here.
"I wonder if Spirit Of Valor likes going around bends, but he is running well and he's working very well. If the ground stays quick he'll definitely go well. He's very consistent. Intelligence Cross seems to be going a little bit better since his last run and Fleet Review has been a bit disappointing but his form is better at home."
On Jungle Cat's chances of signing off with a victory, Appleby added: "This is his swansong and he's been a yard favourite. His career highlight was winning the Al Quoz – it was a much-deserved win for him. He's danced every dance and coming over here to win the Sir Rupert Clark was a great achievement. We're dropping back to six, he's getting a bit older now and he's taking on some proper sprinters so it'll be tough for him, but he won't lie down."
Manikato winner Brave Smash, Royal Ascot visitor Redkirk Warrior and James Cummings' consistent Kementari also go to post for the $1 million Group 1.
Appleby believes his other runner on the card Blair House is the one to beat in the $2 million Seppelt-sponsored Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (5.55), where he will face Irish Derby hero Latrobe.
He said: "I'm very confident. He's come out of his last run well and we purposefully skipped the Cox Plate, we felt we couldn't reverse the form with Benbatl let alone beat Winx. We thought we'd go into the Mackinnon with fresh legs, he looks great and I feel they've got us to beat."
Joseph O'Brien, whose Latrobe looked to have a similar profile to last year's Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling but was redirected to the Mackinnon by majority owners the Williams family, said: "We're very happy running in the Mackinnon, it's good prize-money and a competitive race. He's in good form and seems to have taken quarantine pretty well."
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