Midas Touch Establishes Himself As Genuine Melbourne Cup Candidate After Oz Switch
Not many would have predicted that Midas Touch would be a potential winner of Australia’s most famous race, the Melbourne Cup when winning the Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial over ten furlongs at Leopardstown in May 2010.
However, since parting company leaving the Aidan O’Brien stable in Ireland to be trained by Robert Hickmott in Australia, there are many who are of the opinion that he was purchased by the very perceptive and well known owner, Lloyd Williams, with the aim of winning the "Race that stops a Nation".
By Australian standards, Midas Touch is lightly raced but was considered good enough to contest the biggest prizes in Britain and Ireland as a three year old last year, including both the English and Irish Derby and the English St Leger as well as the Prix l'Arc de Triomphe.
Whilst not a prolific winner, this son of Galileo has always been consistent, finishing in the top three of his 13 career starts to date. Furthermore, his second place behind Arctic Cosmos in the English St Leger over 1m6f 12 months ago at Doncaster proved that he is a genuine stayer with genuine talent and the 2 mile trip around Flemington should not be a problem.
It is not necessarily class that will win a Melbourne Cup but such has become the status of the race in recent years, that top rated International stayers are trying their luck on a much more frequent scale. Lloyd Williams has realised this and that sooner or later horses bred in Europe could eventually dominate the Melbourne Cup, which is precisely why he has begun importing talent from the Northern Hemisphere.
What is particularly encouraging for Midas Touch is that he has adjusted quickly to Australian conditions and seems to relish life Down Under. His first two starts in Australia were hardly designed to test his ability as they were raced over six and seven furlongs respectively. However, a huge improvement came about when he went over a mile in the Group Two Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington three weeks ago when he finished a close up third. Two weeks later he finished third again, just 1½ lengths behind new Melbourne Cup favourite, Lion Tamer, this time in the Group One Underwood Stakes, this time over 9 furlongs at Caulfield.
These last two performances shave alerted Bookmakers that Midas Touch is possibly being "laid out" to win the race and his odds have been dramatically reduced to 16/1 in the Melbourne Cup betting which makes him the third favourite, behind Lion Tamer and December Draw to win.