Heavy rain is threatening to dash the Luca Cumani-trained Purple Moon’s hopes of winning Tuesday’s Emirates Melbourne Cup.
Nearly 20 millimetres of rain fell on Flemington racecourse on Sunday morning, resulting in the track easing from good to the worse side of slow.
More rain was predicted in Melbourne later on Sunday. but track manager Terry Watson was confident the worst had passed.
Provided there is no more rain on Monday and Tuesday, Watson believes the track will dry out a little though it may be on the dead side on Tuesday.
“We’re lucky in a way. If the rain has to come that it came today,” he said.
The forecast for Monday is for a few showers, however racegoers on Tuesday are expected to be greeted with sunny conditions.
That was only minor consolation for Cumani, Aidan O’Brien and Amanda Perrett, who have brought their horses to the other side of the world only to have their hopes jeopardised by untimely rain.
The amount of rain in the 18-hour period following the conclusion of Saturday’s races almost matched Melbourne’s total rainfall in the past seven weeks.
“But as I said before, we trainers are always concerned about something. If the sun was shining, we’d be concerned about something else,” said a philosophical Cumani.
O’Brien, who trains three-year-old Mahler, said: “It’s definitely not a positive. I think Flemington is a new track and is well drained.
“That’s probably a big plus if it does rain. It will drain better than an older track. So it’s not a big plus but we’re hoping that it won’t rain too much.”
The rain left O’Brien longing for his all-weather track at Ballydoyle after being forced to work Mahler in the wet on Sunday.
“We were running on grass (here) and it was a little bit tricky with a lot of things changed from yesterday morning with the grass being slower than it was and windy and wet,” he went on.
“So it was a little bit hard to work out, but he seemed to be fine after. It wouldn’t be abnormal to do a nice blow a couple days up to the run though.”
Tungsten Strike has won on slow going but Mark Perrett, husband of the trainer, preferred a firm track for the seven-year-old.
The wet was not a concern for Danny O’Brien, the trainer of favourite Master O’Reilly and Caulfield Cup runner-up Douro Valley.
“I don’t think it matters. Certainly Douro Valley is a good wet tracker, Master O’Reilly has only had one run on the slow for a win,” he said.
Cumani said Master O’Reilly was still the one to beat, and respected Mackinnon Stakes winner Sirmione as he was trained by Bart Cummings, who has won the Cup a record 11 times.
Leading hope Zipping, who ran fourth on a firm track in last year’s Melbourne Cup, is also adept in the wet with one win and two placings from three tries.