The world’s most famous jockey tips the horse that will win the Melbourne Cup as Australian legend Damien Oliver gets big news about his horse
Champion jockey Frankie Dettori has tipped the heavily-backed Absurde to upset old Melbourne Cup favorite and stablemate Vauban in the race that holds a country back.
Dettori’s selection comes with his old friend and rival jockey Damien Oliver set to make his final Cup ride on Tuesday after his horse Alenquer passed a preventative veterinary inspection.
The Mike Moroney-trained Alenquer showed signs of soreness in the front hoof after track work on Sunday and will be re-inspected on course at Flemington.
Dettori’s winning ride on Absurde in August’s Ebor Handicap secured the Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old’s place in the Cup field.
Absurd carried 60.5kg to victory at that race in York, England, but drops to 53kg for the cup; which was too low for Dettori to maintain the partnership.
Australian jockey Zac Purton has instead been booked to ride Absurde, who will jump from barrier eight.
“He’s got good weight and good pulling power,” Dettori said.
“This is a Melbourne Cup, it’s always open, but if I had to pick one, I’d pick it.”
Frankie Dettori celebrates winning the Sky Bet Ebor Handicap on Absurde, now believing the horse has what it takes to win the Melbourne Cup
Champion jockeys Frankie Dettori and Damien Oliver pose for a photo ahead of the Australian legend’s final Melbourne Cup
Vauban set tongues wagging when he left Absurde in his wake during a scintillating piece of work at Flemington last week.
Absurde also finished second to Vauban by seven and a half lengths in the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot in June, but Dettori is undeterred.
Gamblers seem to agree. Absurd received sensational support, strengthening from $21 after Saturday’s draw to around $9 on Monday, while Vauban fell slightly to around $4.60.
“The distance and the ground are ideal for him… and the bridge is not too far,” Dettori said.
“The thing is, the Melbourne Cup is a handicap and one person weighs 55kg, the other weighs 53kg. Two kilos is a big difference.
‘I’ve never ridden the favorite, but I’ve ridden Absurde and I’ll stick with it.’
Mullins is happy with Vauban’s preparation and is equally optimistic about Absurde’s chances.
‘He’s not far away. He had a great race in the Ebor and won it,” Mullins said.
‘His race at Royal Ascot, when Vauban won, was a very difficult ride for Frankie that day and he was left out of the race a bit early.
‘He has made up a huge gap in finishing second and if he gets a fair chance (Tuesday) he has every chance.’
Damien Oliver hopes to help Alenquer rise in the Melbourne Cup after his ride passes a preventative veterinary inspection.
Absurd could be the horse to beat in a stacked field of local and foreign raiders for the 2023 Melbourne Cup
Milan-born Dettori has won virtually every major honor over the past 35 years in the saddle, but the Melbourne Cup has eluded him until now.
The 52-year-old had planned to retire this year but has reversed that decision and hinted he may have one last shot at Flemington glory left.
“It’s something that’s really missing from my resume,” Dettori said.
‘Unfortunately I won’t be participating this year, but who knows? Maybe next year I’ll be in the lineup this time and try again.”
On Monday, a relaxed Oliver said Moroney was ‘quietly confident’ that Alenquer would recover in time to take his place in the 3200m handicap.
“It’s beyond my control,” said Oliver, a veteran of 31 Melbourne Cup rides.
“I want to be there on a horse that can run almost at its best.
“If he’s not doing well, I won’t go there anymore to make up the numbers and just run a race.”