Hotham Stakes winner set for Melbourne Cup 2019

Hotham Stakes winner Downdraft has come through the Flemington race well as he prepares to run on a quick back-up in the Melbourne Cup.

Downdraft’s win in Saturday’s 2500m-race confirmed his spot in Tuesday’s $8 million Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington where he will be one of four runners for Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien.

O’Brien won the Melbourne Cup two years ago with Rekindling and on Sunday became the youngest person to train a Breeders’ Cup winner with Iridessa at Santa Anita.

The trainer also has Master Of Reality, Latrobe and Twilight Payment in Tuesday’s race with those three going to the Cup without a lead-up in Melbourne this spring.

Downdraft ran third in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup and backed up a week later to win the Hotham.

He had been 24th in the Melbourne Cup ballot and was at risk of being leapfrogged for the final spot had he not run on Saturday.

O’Brien’s travelling groom, Mark Power, said Downdraft had pulled up well.

“So far so good,” Power said.

“We pulled him out for a little trot just to see if he was sound this morning and he was perfect. He had a trot up after the race yesterday from Racing Victoria vets and they were happy with him.

“He just did a little walk today and he’ll do a little cantering tomorrow all things going well.

“He ate up last night and he seems in good form there this morning.

“It wasn’t ideal and our hand was forced a little bit to run to secure that 24th spot in the Cup.

“By choice we would have not run but in saying that he was actually heavier running yesterday than he was in his Moonee Valley run, so he does pull up good.”

Master Of Reality and Downdraft are both $17 in Cup betting with Latrobe at $26 and Twilight Payment $81.

Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au