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European headlock on Melbourne Cup betting grows tighter as more money comes for Withhold

Rekindling (near) wins the 2017 Melbourne Cup, with five of the first six runners past the post coming from European stables.

The dominance of European raider in the Melbourne Cup betting grew even stronger this week, with more money coming for favourite Withhold to win Australia’s most famous flat race on Tuesday 6th November.

Dubbed “the race which stops a nation”, this year’s Melbourne Cup coverage will captivate audiences on a truly global scale. 

Joseph O’Brien was left celebrating last year, as Rekindling saw off the attention of horses trained by his father Aiden and fellow Irish trainer, Willie Mullins. Success for European raiders in Flemington’s seasonal showpiece has been fairly sparse throughout its long, storied history. However, after dominating the 2017 renewal, more European trainers are targeting Melbourne Cup success than ever before and punters in the northern hemisphere are already piling into some familiar names.

Just two of the top 15 names in the current Melbourne Cup betting with Ladbrokes are trained in Asia. Japanese star, Tosen Basil sits on a price of 20/1, with Australia’s most prominent entrant, Kings Will Dream sharing the same price. Kings Will Dream was trained in the care of Micky Hammond before making the move to Darren Weir’s yard, finishing fourth on his first start on Australian soil earlier this month.

The current betting for the Melbourne Cup, in this part of the world at least, is headed by Roger Charlton’s Withhold, who won the Cesarewitch on his final start of 2017 and stormed to a hugely impressive victory in the Northumberland Plate on his only appearance of the season so far. 

Despite that victory, Withhold’s connections were still a little worried about whether their charge would get into the Melbourne Cup off his current rating of 107. Charlton’s charge is currently entered into the Cesarewitch and the Group Two Long Distance Cup on Champions Day, but the uncertainty surrounding his participation hasn’t stopped punters backing Withhold to fly home at Flemington, with Ladbrokes cutting their price from 12s to 10/1 during the week.

Another British challenger hoping for Melbourne Cup success is Charlie Appleby, who celebrated the biggest victory of his training career at Epsom in June as Masar stormed to Derby glory. 

“When I was handed this position, the two races I was given to try to win were the Derby and the Melbourne Cup.” Appleby said to the Racing Post on Friday morning. “We’ve landed one of them but we’ve been trying for many years in Australia and I hope we’ve got a couple of live shots going down there in Cross Counter and Hamada.”

Withhold cruising to victory in last year's Cesarewich at Newmarket.


“With the experience of the last few years, I think they’re the right types for the race. I was delighted with Cross Counter at York. I know he went off favourite for the Great Voltigeur and he finished second, but he didn’t lose anything in defeat because I’m sure Old Persian is going to be a real player in the St Leger.”

While Cross Counter has impressed, Hamada’s progress has gone a little under the radar. Unbeaten in four starts this term, the Godolphin flag-bearer was handed a career-high rating of 110 after comfortably seeing off St Leger entrant, Raymond Tusk to win the Group Three Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury.

Following that success, Ladbrokes handed Hamada fresh quotes of 16/1 to win the Melbourne Cup. Cross Counter remains the third-favourite behind Withhold and Magic Circle, who won the Chester Cup for owner Marwan Koukash earlier in the season and the good doctor claimed this week that, if Magic Circle could repeat that feat in Flemington, that he would wear “just a thong” when he lifted the famous trophy.

While European entrants clutter the upper-end of the Melbourne Cup betting with local betting firms, the market with Australia branch of Ladbrokes tells a slightly different story. Ladbrokes.au list Japanese entrant, Chestnut Coat as one of three 14/1 joint-favourites, with home challenger Kings Will Dream, Withhold and Torcedor – now trained in Germany with Anthony Wohler – the other names at the head of the betting.

Any suggestions of a home-land bias fade as you scroll through the betting however, with Admire Robson – who’s yet to make a appearance for Darren Weir since arriving from Japan – and Jason Cummings’ Avilius the only other Australian-based entrants in the top 15 of the Melbourne Cup market. 

With the odds seemingly stacked against them, it’s looking like a surprise winner will have to spring from the cracks if Australia wants to wrestle back control of their most famous prize in racing.

*Current Melbourne Cup (6/11/18) betting with Ladbrokes UK*
10/1 Withhold, 14/1 Magic Circle, 16/1 Cross Counter, Hamada, Torcedor, 20/1 Kew Gardens, Tosen Basil, Marmelo, 25/1 Bar


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European headlock on Melbourne Cup betting grows tighter as more money comes for Withhold

The dominance of European raider in the Melbourne Cup betting grew even stronger this week, with more money coming for favourite Withhold to win Australia’s most famous flat race on Tuesday 6th November.

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