I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts a lot shorterTrainer Scott Brunton
Betting on the Melbourne Cup day meeting at Flemington is notoriously difficult but leading Tasmanian trainer Scott Brunton has some advice for local punters.
Brunton is confident that his lone runner at the meeting, Mandela Effect, will go very close to winning the $120,000 Benchmark 90 Handicap where he has been backed from $19 to $13.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts a lot shorter,” the trainer said.
“He’s gone over in peak condition and, if everything goes to plan, he’ll be very hard to beat.”
Mandela Effect won his only previous start in Melbourne – at Caulfield in mid-July – when he came from near-last on the turn to score over 1400m in open three-year-old company.
“He is in better order now,” Brunton said. “He really benefited from that trip away.”
Mandela Effect resumed from a spell with a soft win at Mowbray four weeks ago after which Brunton declared him “a star”.
Brunton also has last-start Mowbray winner Ivoryman engaged in the Subzero Handicap for greys at Flemington on Oaks Day.
Former Tote Tasmania chairman Michael Kent has a runner in the Melbourne Cup.
Mr Kent owns a 25 per cent share of the Gai Waterhouse-trained Runaway, a last-start Geelong Cup winner.
He has described it as a dream come true to have a starter in the big race “especially one with a genuine winning chance.”
Runaway is $34 in the Ubet fixed-odds market.
Mr Kent, who has raced numerous horses in Tasmania, was a long-serving chief executive of Woolworths and until recently mayor of the Glamorgan-Spring Bay Council.
A Tasmanian also has a share in Saturday’s $2 million Victoria Derby winner Extra Brut.
East Devonport Football Club president Justin Delanty and three Victorian mates make up the Four Coronas syndicate which has a five per cent share in the colt.
Stakemoney for the two feature races on Magic Millions night at Mowbray in February has been increased.
The 2YO Classic has risen from $50,000 to $75,000 and the race previously restricted to three-year-olds is up from $50,000 to $65,000 and will now be open to four-year-olds as well.
The former 3YO Classic attracted only seven starters last year.
New Racing Minister Elise Archer has also announced that Magic Millions, Tasracing and Tasbreeders have signed a new three-year agreement to conduct the Tasmanian yearling sale from 2019 to 2021.
Ms Archer said the government had made a $300,000 commitment to the breeding industry for 2018-19.
Prominent Wesley Vale trainer Glenn Stevenson has blasted the decision to reduce field sizes for Tuesday’s Elwick meeting.
Stewards ruled that the field limits would be cut from 12 starters to 10 due to the rail being out six metres.
The reason given was safety concerns at the start – the barrier stalls would have been flush against the fence leaving no room for the clerks of the course to get through if anything went wrong.
Stevenson said his problem was with the late notification.
“Trainers should have been advised much earlier because surely they would have been aware of this when they moved the rail out,” he said.
“And, I’m not sure why the rail has to be out that far anyway – it’s not as if the track is getting much use at the moment.”