MADE IN AUSTRALIA: Fawkner with Cup jockey Nicholas Hall aboard. Picture: Getty ImagesFAWKNER’S owner has called on Australians to get fair dinkum and support one of their own in the Melbourne Cup.
Nick Williams believes Fawkner can repel the northern hemisphere invasion on Tuesday. As well as the record 11 overseas-trained runners, another eight are imports and four are New Zealand bred.
Fawkner is a son of the unbeaten Reset, raced by Williams’ father, Lloyd, a four-time Melbourne Cup-winning owner who shares Fawkner with his son.
Fawkner’s dam, Dane Belltar, was placed in three Oaks at group 1 level and has passed on her staying credentials to her son.
‘‘He’s by Reset, which means he’s Australian bred,’’ Nick Williams said. ‘‘He’s also Australian-owned, Australian-reared and Australian trained, and I don’t think there’s another horse in the race we can say that about.
‘‘I hope the country gets behind him.’’
It seems many are with Fawkner, which has been well supported at between $9 and $10 since the field and barriers were finalised on Saturday.
The Williams family has its own imported Cup hope at Flemington, Sea Moon, one of the outsiders at $151.
Admire Rakti’s powerful Caulfield Cup win means he is the favourite to give Japan a second Cup, although he has eased slightly after drawing barrier eight, alongside Fawkner in nine.
But Admire Rakti’s trainer, Tomoyuki Umeda, is more than happy with the gate, saying eight is a lucky number in Japan.
Delta Blues and Pop Rock ran one-two in the Cup for Japan in 2006, but stricter quarantine regulations after the equine influenza outbreak a year later proved difficult.
Tokai Trick, 12th in 2010, is the only Japanese horse since then to make the trip to Australia for the Cup.
Admire Rakti will have an Australian connection via his jockey, Hong Kong’s premier rider, Zac Purton.
Against him is his top weight of 58.5kg. In 2005, Makybe Diva carried 58kg in her third Cup, the highest winning weight since 1969.
At the lower end of the weight scale, second favourite Lucia Valentina, third in the Caulfield Cup, will carry 53kg.
The Kris Lees-trained former New Zealand mare has never been over the 3200 metres of the Cup but was strong at the end of the 2400m at Caulfield.
Her jockey, Kerrin McEvoy, has been there and done it before, winning in 2000 on Brew, which qualified on the Saturday before the Cup.
Signoff will be aiming to do the same after winning his way through via the equivalent race on Saturday, the Lexus Stakes.
He is prepared by Melbourne trainer Darren Weir for businessman Gerry Ryan, who experienced victory with Americain four years ago.
Bloodstock agent John Foote secured Signoff at a yearling sale in England, and the Irish-bred gelding has done all his racing in Australia.
His Lexus win propelled him to single figures in markets and he will have international star Joao Moreira as his pilot.
The Hong Kong-based Brazilian was aboard for the Lexus on the same day he won the group1 Coolmore Stud Stakes on Brazen Beau and finished a close second on He’s Your Man in the Mackinnon Stakes won by Happy Trails.
Precedence flies the flag for the colonial-bred and the man who has won the Melbourne Cup more times than any other.
Bart Cummings has sent Precedence to the Cup three times, and this year the nine-year-old goes to the race under the names of the master and his training partner, grandson James.
Like the popular English horse Red Cadeaux, Precedence will be running in his fourth Cup. This time he will sport the green colours of his breeder and part-owner, Cambridge Stud proprietor Sir Patrick Hogan. His other owners include Dato Tan Chin Nam, who has won four Cups with Bart Cummings, who has trained 12 Cup winners.
Precedence is an outsider with bookmakers but will be much shorter on the tote as once-a-year punters take a chance on the Cups King.