Raiders ready to plunder Cup
PAT Cosgrave and Jim Crowley soaked up the atmosphere of Monday's Melbourne Cup parade, both believing they are in with a great chance to join a growing list of international jockeys to win Australia's great race.
Michael Kinane set the ball rolling in 1993, but it wasn't until Yasunari Iwata rode Delta Blues in 2006 that the name of another international rider was added to the Melbourne Cup honour roll. Since then, Gerald Mosse, Christophe Lemaire and Ryan Moore have all achieved the feat.
Irishman Cosgrave flew back into Australia Sunday morning plotting a Cups double success after making a stunning impression on Aussie punters last month at Caulfield.
Cosgrave won the Caulfield Stakes on Benbatl and then a week later the Caulfield Cup on Best Solution.
He was suspended, meaning he missed Benbatl's second in the Cox Plate, but has returned in a bid to break 17-year run of outs for Caulfield Cup winners in the Melbourne Cup.
Best Solution escaped a penalty for his Caulfield win, but many have dismissed his chances, based on the fact just three horses from 76 attempts have won the Cup under 57kg or more since the conversion to metrics.
"People were like that in the Caulfield Cup too but he doesn't mind carrying weight. He won with 60kg in Dubai," Cosgrave said.
"Obviously he has to go two mile now with top weight and it's a tough race and a very open race, but he's got a hell of a chance.
"He runs through the line good and he's been running on big galloping tracks over a mile and a half back in the UK.
"I've been looking forward to tomorrow, win lose or draw it's going to be a great day and you never know with a bit of luck."
Similar to Cosgrave, Jim Crowley has also made an immediate impression in Australia as he prepares to ride Ebor winner Muntahaa in Tuesday's Cup.
Crowley, British Flat racing Champion Jockey in 2016, rode a double at Bendigo last week before running second on Qafila in Saturday's Wakeful Stakes at Flemington.
His experience here in the last week has lifted his confidence in Muntahaa's chances in the Cup.
"(Flemington) is a beautiful track. It's a very similar track to York (where Muntahaa won the Ebor)," Crowley said. .
"He's certainly good enough. We just need a bit of luck and hopefully the occasion doesn't get to him. Touch wood he's been good so far.
"He's a Group winner in England and he's not just a handicapper. It's a very good race the Ebor. I think he will run a big race."