International super star Frankie Dettori will be trying to win his first Melbourne Cup when he is legged up onto on the Lloyd Williams owned Almandin at Flemington on Tuesday.
Almandin is chasing back to back wins in the Group 1 $6.25m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) after Kerrin McEvoy steered the Robert Hickmott trained gelding to victory twelve months ago.
Dettori only secured the mount on Almandin after three times Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver lost the ride when he was suspended from an incident coming out of the Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 28.
“I got the ride for the wrong reasons. Damien (Oliver) got suspended,” Dettori said.
“But the horse has won it before, we know he stays two miles and it is a very exciting ride to have.”
“I only got the ride when Damien got suspended in the Cox Plate. Mr Williams was quick on the phone. He said if he doesn’t win the appeal will you come and ride him.”
“I said of course, what a chance to have.”
Dettori has been travelling to Australia to ride in the Melbourne Cup for over a decade and said he would be thrilled to win the Melbourne Cup for Williams and his team.
“To me the Melbourne Cup is one of the biggest races in the world and it would mean a lot to breakthrough,” Dettori said.
“I came here in ’93 and he (Williams) took me under his wing, we have been friends ever since and then I rode Order Of St George in the Arc, we were third. Those famous blue and white colours, it is a great honour.”
Dettori will have his first sit on Almandin at Flemington tomorrow but said he rode against him in last year’s Melbourne Cup and has watched plenty of his runs on video.
“I raced with him last year and have been watching all of his videos and I will have a chit chat with the team tonight about our tactics,” Dettori said.
“From about fifty thousand races I think I know what I am doing.”
Dettori had no luck from barrier twenty-four last year on the well beaten Wicklow Brave and is looking to have a better run from barrier fourteen on Almandin.
“Last year I was in twenty-four, it makes life pretty difficult, this year I am fourteen, in the middle but satisfied,” Dettori said.
“I hope I can have a clean race, give the horse every chance and hope for the best.”
Almandin has drifted in the betting for the Melbourne Cup and after being the $6.50 favourite over the weekend, is now the $9.50 second pick at Ladbrokes.com.au behind the English stayer Marmelo who now heads the market order at $8.
The Aidan O’Brien trained Irish stayer Johannes Vermeer, who will also wear Williams’ famous blue and white colours, shares the next line of betting at $10 with the Darren Weir trained Humidor.