Cup diary: Big team out to cap it all

At The Races presenter Martin Kelly brings us some of the latest news straight from the track ahead of Tuesday's Melbourne Cup.

Big Orange works on the track at Werribee under Gill Dolman.


Ebor winner Heartbreak City had a crucial gallop under his big-race jockey Joao Moreira postponed after an unforeseen change to his flight schedule from Hong Kong.

The 'Magic Man' had been due to jet into Melbourne to partner Tony Martin's six-year-old at the Werribee quarantine centre on Friday, but an issue with transport saw that piece of work pushed back by 24 hours.

The delay was not the first inconvenience caused to Moreira by plane problems as seven days earlier a typhoon warning prevented him travelling from the Far East and cost him the ride on Vadamos in the Cox Plate.

All was not lost though as the Brazilian made an immediate impact on the track on Saturday's Derby Day card as he forced Sheidel home in front in the third race, the Sensis Stakes.


UK-based broadcaster Rupert Bell is well known as a racing raconteur in media circles, but his ability to work his recording equipment seems a little well less polished.

Bell arrived into Australia earlier this week and came to the Werribee training centre on Friday morning fired up for several hours of his usual top-quality interviews.

You can imagine the excitement of Bell – whose brother Michael saddles Big Orange in Tuesday's Emirates Melbourne Cup – when Australian owner and multi-billionaire property tycoon Lloyd Williams arrived to watch his own contender Bondi Beach in his morning work.

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Williams is renowned for his reclusive nature and rarely gives media interviews, but Bell was unperturbed, bounded over to Williams and secured several minutes of his time.

Bell's seemingly unflappable enthusiasm did take somewhat of a knock, however, when he arrived back at his hotel to find not one of his morning interviews had recorded due to him selecting the wrong setting on his tape machine.

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Big Orange has taken his trip to Melbourne better than 12 months ago and Michael Bell has been thrilled with his condition building up to the Cup.

The dual Goodwood Cup winner lost only 13kg on the 39-hour journey Down Under in comparison to last year, when he dropped 30kg and went on to finish a gallant fifth in the world-famous handicap.

Big Orange has been expertly prepared by Bell's travelling head girl Gill Dolman, who also globetrotted with Wigmore Hall, but her current role is far different to that she occupied previously having formerly been nanny to two of Bell's children, Alex and Amy.

Big Orange has a huge support team with him as owner Tim Gredley has a large number of family and friends in his entourage – including pal Newmarket trainer George Scott – and they can be easily spotted at trackwork wearing bright orange baseball caps.


Charlie Appleby has dominated with his handful of runners during the Melbourne Spring Carnival and Oceanographer added to his haul when sweeping late under Kerrin McEvoy to take the Lexus Stakes and guarantee his place in the Cup.

Appleby brought a quartet of runners down to Australia as a fact-finding mission and landed the Geelong Cup with Qewy (Oceanographer was a fast-finishing third), the Bendigo Cup with Francis Of Assisi, while Scottish chased home Jameka in the Caulfield Cup.

Qewy was already in the final 24 of the Cup but Oceanographer needed to win the qualifier to guarantee his place and will now back-up here on Tuesday under Chad Schofield.

"I only arrived on Friday so the team out here have done a great job," said Appleby. "The horses have thrived down here and it has been a fantastic job by everyone involved. To my eye this win only boosts Qewy's form as they couldn't get past him last time and going up to two miles will suit him. We only brought these horses down as an experiment for next year and it has gone better than we could have imagined!"

Watch live coverage of the 2016 Melbourne Cup on At The Races (Sky Channel 415) – the special broadcast begins at 2300(GMT) on Monday night.

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