Cup favourites handed boost

Emirates Melbourne Cup favourites Tawqeet and Yeats have had their prospects of winning the Group One at Flemington on Tuesday enhanced by drawing favourably at Saturday’s ceremony.

Emirates Melbourne Cup favourites Tawqeet and Yeats have had their prospects of winning the Group One at Flemington on Tuesday enhanced by drawing favourably at Saturday’s ceremony.

Tawqeet drew stall nine while Yeats fared even better after Tom Magnier drew gate four in the Victoria Racing Club committee room.

It was also good news for the other British-based horses Land ’N Stars and Geordieland, who will jump out of gates six and 10 respectively in the 24-horse field.

“I am delighted with that, absolutely delighted,” said Jamie Poulton, trainer of Land ’N Stars.

“Hopefully we won’t have to put a gun to the horse’s head to get a good position, and we can just creep into the race quietly.”

Tom Magnier, son of owners John and Sue Magnier, said that their stall was even better than they had been hoping for, and was also given the thumbs up by Kieren Fallon.

“We are happy with that barrier, we were looking for nine and inside,” Magnier said.

“I looked over at Kieren after the draw and he nodded and said ’I’m happy with that’.”

The Irishman also put to rest any fears that Yeats missing a gallop on Friday would hinder his chances in the race on Tuesday.

“He only missed that gallop because of the ground. We knew the ground would be better this morning so we worked him today and he went really, really well.”

With the horse drawing ideally, Magnier said that race tactics will not be spoken about until trainer Aiden O’Brien, currently in the US, has been contacted.

“He will probably sit in the first half dozen or thereabouts, but a lot can happen with the ground. We will ring Aiden and work the plan out from there.”

Luca Cumani had to wait on the VRC committee’s final deliberation on the field, but they decided to allow his horse Glistening (24) into the race at the expense of local hope Count Ricardo – a move sure to incur the wrath of Australian training ranks.

Exciting Victorian Derby winner Efficient, trained by Graeme Rogerson, drew well in gate eight and will be ridden by rising star Craig Newitt if connections back him up in three days.

Newitt was suspended earlier in the week but won a stay of proceedings from Racing Victoria which will allow him to ride in the Cup.

On whether Efficient will start in the race, Nick Lloyd Williams, the owner’s son said: “The horse has got to pull up well.

“We didn’t have much intention of running in the Cup, but he treated that field with contempt and it was a no-brainer to pay up (the final acceptance fee of 132,000) for him.”

On the poor draws of the other two Williams-Rogerson horses in the race - Activation (22) and Zipping (20) – Williams said they have other things in their favour to offset that bad luck.

“The gates weren’t ideal but they’re both going really well, both 110 percent,” Williams said.

“And given an ounce of luck, on Activation we have in-form jockey Michael Rodd (who rode Efficient on Saturday) and defending champion jockey Glen Boss (on Zipping). Craig Newitt has something to prove.”

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