Vow and Declare overcame a wide draw to triumph in the 2019 Melbourne Cup on November 5th. Despite a number of European heavyweights lining up in Australia’s most famous thoroughbred race, it was local trainer Danny O’Brien who added his name to the prestigious roll of honour at Flemington Racecourse.
The latest renewal of the ‘race that stops a nation’ was a dramatic one with several horses still in with a chance as the finishing line loomed. However, it was O’Brien’s mount who showed more fight in the closing stages and managed to edge out Prince of Arran and Il Paradiso to land the $4 million prize purse. Master of Reality had finished narrowly behind the eventual winner, although Joseph O’Brien’s four-year-old was eventually demoted to fourth owing to interference. The decision also resulted in Frankie Dettori receiving a nine-day ban and the Italian jockey will not return to the saddle until November 14th.
It was a notable victory for Australian horse racing with a number of the market principles struggling to get involved. Finche was only able to trundle home in seventh whilst the much-fancied Constantinople was a disappointing 13th. The pair are likely to bump into the race winner Vow and Declare on a number of occasions over the next twelve months, including in the 2020 Caulfield Cup where all three runners are currently priced at 16/1 in the ante-post horse racing betting markets.
Winning co-owner Geoff Corrigan was typically bullish in his post-race interview and admitted that he’d like to see four-year-old chestnut compete at Royal Ascot in the future. Although he may be too young to travel over and compete in Berkshire in 2020, connections will certainly fancy their chances of success in Europe and there are several other options if a trip to the Royal meeting fails to materialise. The Goodwood Cup Stakes which takes place a month later is another possibility whilst Meydan’s Dubai Gold Cup appears could be a more realistic option in late-March.
Vow And Declare has won the Melbourne Cup for Australia!— bet365_aus (@bet365_aus) November 5, 2019
It's a first for Craig Williams and Danny O'Brien.
Cross Counter, who finished a disappointing eighth place for British trainer Charlie Appleby is already in the ante-post betting for the 2020 Ascot Gold Cup alongside Il Paradiso, and it is a contest which could potentially be targetted by a number of Australian raiders next summer. Stradavarius is likely to return to defend his crown whilst Joseph O’Brien’s Master of Reality could return to the track following a respectable third place finish in the contest earlier this year.
It may only be a pipe dream at this stage, but Vow and Declare looks upwardly mobile and has shown enough aptitude to become one of the countries finest stayers. It is hard to know how successful the Melbourne Cup winner will be over the next twelve months, but Danny O’Brien’s charge has a superb attitude, and although he has already written his name into Australian thoroughbred racing history, connections are expecting plenty more to come.