The Emirates Melbourne Cup will take place in the early hours of Tuesday morning and Aidan O’Brien will be hoping that Anthony Van Dyck or Tiger Moth can help him claim victory for the first time at Flemmington.
The closest he has come to winning it was in 2017 when Johannes Vermeer was beaten half a length by Rekindling, trained by his son Joseph.
Anthony Van Dyck won last year’s Derby at Epsom in a blanket finish and his first race since was in September in the Prix Foy, when he won and then was second in the Caulfield Cup, while Tiger Moth has had just four runs in his life but he was second in the Irish Derby in June.
O’Brien said “They are two very nice horses we sent this year – a Derby winner and an Irish Derby runner-up,”
“We were very happy with Anthony Van Dyck’s run in the Caulfield Cup.
“The lads who are over there with him, and Shane who rides him out, are all very happy with him. Hugh (Bowman) has sat on him a few times and has been very happy with him.
“Tiger Moth obviously hasn’t run over there but he ran an excellent race in the Irish Derby and won well the race before he left to go to Australia.
“There wasn’t really any other race he could run in, and he was just getting in the Melbourne Cup with a nice weight, so we decided not to run him (beforehand).
“They’ve been very happy since he’s been down there – everything is very good with him, and I suppose there’s just another canter to go. I’m hoping they both run well.”
Unfortunately due to the pandemic restrictions, none of the regular jockey’s travelled over.
Instead he has employed two of the best Australia has ever seen in Bowman, known for his association with Winx, and Kerrin McEvoy, familiar to an Irish audience thanks to his ties with Godolphin.
O’Brien added “We’ve got one drawn inside (Anthony Van Dyck in three) and one on the outside (Tiger Moth 23) – so who knows, we’ll see how that plays out,”
“I’ll be speaking to both Hugh and Kerrin before the race, and see what the lads think.
“I’m delighted to have the two of them – they are two great riders with great experience.”
When he was asked about his preparations for the race this year, he said: “I’m not sure. I’ve obviously never won it, but we’ve taken some very good horses out.
“These are two high-class colts who get a mile and a half well, so we’ll see how they do. It’s always a great race – different this year with no crowd I’m sure, but exciting all the same.
Joseph O’Brien runs Master Of Reality, fourth last year, and Twilight Payment – while Andrew Balding’s Dashing Willoughby and Willie Mullins’ Stratum Albion (known at home as Stratum) complete the Irish and British challenge.
Sir Dragonet, formerly housed at Ballydoyle and winner of the Cox Plate, is the shortest-priced of the home contenders.