Ethiopia carries hopes of nation in Cup for Australians
HE'S had just seven starts but Ethiopia will carry the hopes of the nation when he lines up in today's Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
The four-year-old is one of just two genuinely Australian horses in the race ... bred here, owned here and trained here.
The other is Sydney Cup winner Niwot who ran eighth in the race last year but appears to be struggling for form.
Despite his inexperience, Ethiopia has built up a solid record and confirmed his staying ability by winning the 2400m AJC Derby at Randwick in April.
Two starts back he ran on well for sixth behind Green Moon in the 2000m Turnbull Stakes, before racing near the lead and battling on strongly for fourth behind Ocean Park in the 2000m Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on Oct 27.
Trainer Pat Carey said Ethiopia, named in honour of the great long distance runners that country has produced, showed in the Cox Plate that he was worthy of a crack at Australia's greatest race.
"I've got a great respect for the horses that finished in front of him in the Cox Plate," Carey said.
"We always knew he could stay, but that run showed how much he has matured this preparation."
Carey described barrier 14 as "ideal", saying he was confident the horse would run well in the Melbourne Cup sometime during his career.
"Our view has always been with him that he's going to improve with maturity, whether it was this year, next year or whatever," Carey said.
As well as the two Australian runners, four New Zealand-bred but Australian-trained horses will go around in the race.
Maluckyday, Lights Of Heaven, Precedence and Zabeelionaire are all adopted Aussies and are sure to attract plenty of support.
New Zealand-bred horses have won 41 Melbourne Cups since the race was first run in 1883. More recently, they have won 29 of the past 54 renewals, although the last was Ethereal in 2001.
Maluckyday ran a gallant second to Americain in 2010 and showed he was getting back to his best by running on well late behind Gatewood in the Geelong Cup.
Lights Of Heaven is trained by Peter Moody and won the Brisbane Cup over 2400m in June before finishing strongly for third behind Dunaden in the Caulfield Cup.
While the runners from Down Under will no doubt give their best, most good judges are confident this year's Cup will again be headed overseas.
Who are you tipping for the 2012 Melbourne Cup?
This poll ended on 06 November 2012.
My Quest for Peace
Tac de Boistron
Lights of Heaven
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.