Iain Jardine confirms Melbourne Cup challenge for Nakeeta

Iain Jardine has given Ebor winner Nakeeta the go-ahead to contest the Emirates Melbourne Cup.

Iain Jardine confirms Melbourne Cup challenge for Nakeeta

Iain Jardine has given Ebor winner Nakeeta the go-ahead to contest the Emirates Melbourne Cup.

Nakeeta Picture:Pat Healy Photography

The in-form handler had been non-committal about sending his stable star to Australia, but the decision has now been taken to make the trip having been handed a weight of 53kg (8st 5lb).

"I think we'll go," said Jardine.

"He's got the same mark as Heartbreak City Horseform (last year's Ebor winner who finished a close second in Melbourne) and he should get a run.

"I'd be hopeful of getting him there in the same form he is in now and if he is, he must have a chance.

"He's a stayer with a change of gear, which is what you need.

"It's not every year you get the chance to run in a Melbourne Cup."

Aidan O'Brien's Order Of St George has once again been handed top weight for the Flemington race on November 7.

Sunday's impressive Irish St Leger winner will have to shoulder 58kg (9st 2lb), with the legendary Makybe Diva the only horse able to defy such a weight in the last 40 years.

Order Of St George Horseform also has the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, in which he finished third last year, as an autumn aim and his connections have some serious thinking to do.

Part-owner Lloyd Williams, who has won the Melbourne Cup five times already, believes the ground will be a big factor in the decision.

"He needs good to soft," he told www.heralsdsun.com.au.

"Obviously I would love to run him. The Melbourne Cup, to me, is everything that racing stands for in Australia - our only international event.

"But Aidan needs to select (the) best chance (based on) tracks and travel. The Arc (is) one hour away (with the) chance of rain. The Cup is 30 plus hours."

Greg Carpenter, chief handicapper in Australia, believes he has given O'Brien a carrot.

"The reason I'm so keen to see Order Of St George travel to Australia is for the last three years he's been the powerhouse of European staying," said Carpenter.

"I think that we would see a world-class stayer if he came here. It would be a challenge for him."

Godolphin's Hartnell is due to carry just 0.5kg less than Order Of St George after finishing third last year.

Other notable European-based possibles include Barsanti Horseform and Marmelo Horseform, who both have 55kg (8st 9lb), while Max Dynamite and St Michel are on 54kg (8st 7lb).

Marco Botti's Dylan Mouth is on 53.5kg (8st 6lb).

Godolphin could be strongly represented by UK-based runners from the yards of Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby - not to mention those horses trained in Australia.

"We have four entries at the moment and will decide on final plans in coming weeks," Bin Suroor told www.godolphin.com.

"Prize Money is guaranteed a run with 55kg, and the plan is to take him out to Australia along with Natural Scenery, who runs at Doncaster on Thursday.

"Winning Story came out of the Ebor in good form, and we will make a decision regarding him and Red Galileo as we get nearer the race."

Appleby enjoyed a fruitful Spring Carnival last season, with Flemington Group Three winner Francis Of Assisi (54kg), last year's fourth Qewy (53kg) and Kidmenever (50.5kg) in the frame for the Melbourne Cup.

"The weights were pretty much what we expected," Appleby said.

"The four will go into quarantine later this week and ship out to Australia 14 days later. Two of the four we send from my yard have been to Australia before, so that is good experience to have under the belt.

"Kidmenever will probably need to win one of the prep races to get into the Cup, but we'll give it a shot anyway.

"I'm looking forward to going down to Australia again, and if we can get one winner, we shall be delighted."
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