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Haggas and O’Brien Reveal Likely Cup Runners

IMAGO / Colorsport

After reminding you not to forget about Deauville Legend, there’s even more news from Newmarket, England and across in Ireland this week regarding potential Melbourne Cup runners.

Both England’s William Haggas and Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien have been planning this week. Both have now named likely runners for November 7.

Desert Hero May Be Royal Cup Contender

Only eight weeks after the valuable King Charles III Stakes was announced for the Everest Carnival over in NSW, the King may now have a Melbourne Cup runner too.

Desert Hero, trained in Newmarket by William Haggas, is aiming his St Leger contender at the race. The three-year-old colt has already won a Royal Ascot handicap this year. He was also victorious in the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

While him going for the St Leger is an obvious target, eyebrows have been raised after Haggas nominated the Melbourne Cup as his ultimate target for the year.

Though he’s done his winning over 2400 metres so far, Haggas thinks Desert Hero is a stayer. The St Leger should get the best out of him, but a big run could be expected at Flemington too.

Haggas has pointed out that two northern hemisphere three-year-olds have been successful in the Cup. The entry is a genuine one, but he wouldn’t go for a lead-up race in Australia beforehand. The horse would need to enter quarantine soon after his St Leger date on September 16.

After several victories in Sydney with Addeybb and Dubai Honour, Haggas is well adept at travelling horses to Australia. Dubai Honour is due back in Sydney once again in the autumn. Before all that, Haggas is aiming My Prospero towards the Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup with Desert Hero now likely to join him on the flight.

O’Brien Singles Out Tower of London for Cup Trip

Star Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien could be back among the Cup contenders this year with his Tower Of London. Currently a $34 chance on the TAB, this horse was third in a Group 3 last month which allowed him to pass the ballot conditions for the big one.

Another northern hemisphere three-year-old, Tower Of London is now 3-6. He is a Listed winner over 2600 metres too, with O’Brien rating him as a stayer.

O’Brien, rather typically, could send any number of horses to the Melbourne Cup. As of now, the trainer thinks Tower Of London represents his best chance.

His trainer seems to think he’s well handicapped. That of course is a basic metric people forget about when it comes to contending the Melbourne Cup.

Tower Of London is exciting the Coolmore connections back home. He is unexposed at staying distances. Appropriately, his trainer was discussing him during the 2023 Melbourne Cup Tour. O’Brien hosted a leg of the tour at his stables in Tipperary.

Tiger Moth in 2020 was the trainer’s last Melbourne Cup starter.

Gary Christie
105 articles
For more than 20 years, Gary has been immersed in the worlds of sports writing and betting. As well as writing on the subjects of sports and horse racing, Gary has spent years privately handicapping horse races around the world in order to bet professionally. While having appeared on TV and spoken publicly at racecourses, Gary has a passion for writing. He produces articles every day for various territories including North America, UK, Europe and Australia.
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