Give the Melbourne Cup to Lloyd, says Waterhouse
GAI Waterhouse, trainer of outsider Cismontane, has conceded owner Lloyd Williams has one hand on a record sixth Melbourne Cup trophy with defending champ Almandin at Flemington.
"Lloyd's horse, Almandin, holds the key,'' Waterhouse said.
"Almandin is the class stayer of the race. He is well weighted for a horse that won the Melbourne Cup last year. He is the one we all have to beat.''
Almandin is second favourite at $9.50 with TAB Fixed Odds to join an elite group to have won multiple Melbourne Cups.
Makybe Diva (2003-04-05) is the only three-peat Melbourne Cup winner, while Archer (1861-62), Peter Pan (1932, 1934), Rain Lover (1968-69) and Think Big (1974-75) are the only other dual winners.
Williams, who has six starters in the Melbourne Cup, said Almandin is "in particularly good order".
"He's a European horse and he needs a European jockey like Frankie Dettori, who is at the peak of his powers,'' Williams said.
"I'd be very surprised if he didn't run a great race."
Marmelo is into $8 favouritism to become the first English-trained stayer to win a Melbourne Cup.
Cismontane is rated a $34 chance after securing a start with his win in the Lexus Stakes on Derby Day.
"It is a dream come true getting this horse into the Cup,'' said Waterhouse, who won the great race with Fiorente in 2013.
"Realistically, he is probably an outsider but it is good for my co-trainer, Adrian (Bott), and I to have him in the race.
"I know it was a tough win on Saturday but he took my breath away how well he looked the next day. He came through that race remarkably well and I think he will beat more home than beats him home.''
But Team Williams has a formidable Cup entry today with Almandin joined by Johannes Vermeer ($10), Rekindling ($14), US Army Ranger ($61), Bondi Beach ($61) and Gallante ($101).
"My heart says Almandin but I can see JV (Johannes Vermeer) doing a Green Moon,'' Williams said on Melbourne radio.
"He reminds me of Green Moon. He's a horse who can sprint, he's got a beautiful barrier and Benny Melham is as good a rider as you can find in a staying race.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he won. He's got a great barrier - if he gets a bit of luck - and he'll be very impressive in last 200m.
"Remember what Green Moon did in 2012? He sprinted and put two or three lengths on them. If Bennie (Melham) hangs on a bit longer he might put five lengths on them as he has a serious turn of foot."
Williams also warned punters not to overlook Rekindling, a three-year-old by northern hemisphere time.
"He's run against Order Of St George, who if he had 'cut' in the track would win in a canter, and Rekindling has a bit of form," he said.
"If he's well and over his trip he's a serious stayer.''