After Lunar Flare booked her place in the Melbourne Cup last weekend, another new potential challenger has emerged this time from Ireland.
Yashin landed the Saval Beg Stakes (Group 3) for Jessica Harrington and could now come to Melbourne. Meanwhile, Tabcorp could be making a huge bid to secure the rights to show the Melbourne Cup live.
Dickinson Floored by Cup Contenders
Part-owner Gerry Byrne is most certainly thinking of Melbourne now. His Yashin, a four-year-old, produced a shock 14/1 win in the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown on Friday.
Jockey Shane Foley did well to control Yashin who took a keen hold early. The race wasn’t run at a strong gallop and all the attention was on 2/5 favourite Emily Dickinson, a mare trained by Aidan O’Brien who was among the favourites for the Ascot Gold Cup.
The favourite led the way turning into the straight, but her run ended sharply. She finished only sixth, with Yashin and Point King (Joseph O’Brien) hitting the line almost together. If the trainer is willing, we may see Point King in November as well as the winner.
For her part, trainer Harrington thinks her winner will need to improve to get to Melbourne. She did acknowledge however how well her gelded son of Churchill stays a trip. She also stated that he loves good ground, something he may be likely to get in the spring.
It was also pointed out post-race that Yashin appears to love going left-handed around the track. That is another plus for Flemington.
While the winning distance in the end was only a short-head, it always appeared up the straight that Yashin was getting there and he is bound to come on for the race. He may now go for the Curragh Cup in July before decisions are made about Melbourne.
Tabcorp Planning $100m Broadcast Rights Bid
Meanwhile, broadcast rights for the Melbourne Cup could be changing hands.
A $100 million bid is being planned by Tabcorp to become the rights holder. The group is apparently in negotiations with Victoria Racing Club in order for it to become the local and global distributor for the race.
According to the latest figures, around 700 million people watch the Melbourne Cup in 120 countries. This makes the race a very valuable prospect for broadcasters.
VRC is set to open up the bidding on its broadcast rights for the Cup fixture, with the current contract with Network Ten ending in 2024. After domestic viewing figures dropped to fewer than 1.5 million last year, the network came under increasing pressure.
Tabcorp has previously held the rights via Sky Racing, its broadcast arm. If they are successful this time, domestic rights are likely to be sublicensed. Nine Entertainment, Network Ten and Seven West Media are likely to pick this up for free-to-air viewers.
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