Americain adds to Geelong reputation
French stayer Americain has put an increased focus on the Geelong Cup for European stayers after his Melbourne Cup victory.
Americain joined the Dermot Weld-trained Media Puzzle as the second horse to land the Geelong-Melbourne Cup double in the same year.
The accomplishment comes just two years after the Luca Cumani-trained Bauer was breath away from pulling off the double with Bauer who finished second to Viewed in the Melbourne Cup.
Last year Godolphin’s first Geelong Cup runner Crime Scene finished sixth and second in the Melbourne Cup.
Both the Ireland-based Weld and English-based Cumani stables are convinced the Geelong Cup will be a greater focus for European horses in the future and Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter said there was a strong case for elevating the status of the race from Group Three to Group Two level.
“I have no doubt that the Victorian Pattern Committee will be pushing to have the Geelong Cup considered by the Australian Pattern Committee when it meets next year to have it elevated,” Carpenter said.
“No doubt in the last decade it has become a very important lead up to the country’s best staying race.”
Mark Weld said that trainers of European horses need to look at running in the Geelong Cup as a lead-up to Melbourne Cup.
“I think you probably will see more horses having a prep run in some shape or form and the Geelong Cup is now, for me, from a European perspective the pre-eminent Melbourne Cup trial bar none,” he said.
“The Caulfield (Cup) is not for European horses and never will be while the Geelong Cup is a very winnable race and that is what people have to look at.”
After winning with Bauer, Cumani has another two Geelong Cup runners including Drunken Sailor this year and he agreed that it was an important path to the Melbourne Cup.,
“I would say it is going to be target for the European horses in the future,” Cumani said.
“It probably has the right gap and timing for those horses.”
Five-time Melbourne Cup winning trainer Lee Freedman has never won a Geelong Cup but is looking at it in a different light now.
“It is funny the way the old Geelong Cup used to have poo on its boots and no one wanted to run it ,” Freedman said.
“It wasn’t even looked at as lead up but now it is because it suits the Europeans with the two-week gap to the Melbourne Cup.
“It seems to be a winning formula for them (the Europeans),” Freedman said.
Leading Geelong Cup performers in the Melbourne Cup last 10 years
2010 – Americain* – 1st Melbourne Cup, 1st Geelong Cup
2009 – Crime Scene* – 2nd Melbourne Cup, 6th Geelong Cup; Basaltico * – 19th Melbourne Cup, 7th Geelong Cup
2008 – Bauer* – 2nd Melbourne Cup, 1st Geelong Cup
2005- On A Jeune 2nd Melbourne Cup, 1st Geelong Cup
2003 – She’s Archie 2nd Melbourne Cup, 2nd Geelong Cup
2002 – Media Puzzle* – 1st Melbourne Cup, 1st Geelong Cup
2001 – Karasi 4th Melbourne Cup, 1st Geelong Cup; Maythehorsebewithu – 5th Melbourne Cup, 2nd Geelong Cup