Everest winning jockey Glen Boss has landed the most coveted ride in the Melbourne Cup as he will be aboard favorite Constantinople. He is a three-time winner of this race after steering the legendary Makybe Diva to consecutive triumphs in 2003, 2004 and 2005. He could well add to that tally when the action unfolds next month, as Constantinople looks seriously impressive. The $7.75 million Melbourne Cup is the most prestigious race in Australia and it always attracts a stellar field, but Constantinople and Boss currently head the betting at the best online sportsbooks.
Boss has been in superb form this year. He delivered a brilliant performance on Yes Yes Yes at the $14 million Everest Stakes at the weekend, surging to victory in the world’s richest turf race. It followed triumphs at the Group 1 Epsom Handicap on Kolding and the Doncaster while riding Brutal, and his decision to return to Australia from a stint in Singapore has been thoroughly vindicated. Now he turns his attentions to the race that stops a nation.
Constantinople produced an eye-catching display in the $5 million Caulfield Cup at the weekend. He was the first three-year-old from the northern hemisphere to run in the prestigious race, and he gave a strong account of himself. Luke Nolen was the jockey that day, as Constantinople was unlucky to cross the line in fourth following a difficult race. He broke slowly and then found himself caught up in interference, but he finished strongly after finally finding space and he almost grabbed third place.
“He was terrific,” said Nolen after the Caulfield Cup. “It was a muddling race and with a big-striding horse that was probably against us from an inside draw. We can look at the silver lining, he doesn’t get a penalty for the Melbourne Cup and Flemington will suit.”
The ownership group decided to replace Nolen with the in-form Boss, and they have high hopes for his ability to steer Constantinople to victory. He was bought from Aidan O’Brien with the Melbourne Cup in mind and he should be better suited to the bigger track at Flemington than he was at Caulfield. He is still young and constantly improving, so it is easy to see why he heads the betting for Australia’s most important and prestigious race. Constantinople has a weight of 52.5kg, which Nolen could not make, but it should not be a problem for Boss.
“I’m now really looking forward to the Melbourne Cup,” said trainer David Hayes. “He’s got to be a very good chance. “He’ll love the wide open spaces of Flemington. In Europe he’d been wayward, but he went very straight due to the gear I had placed on him with the crossover noseband, the pre-race ear muffs, the lugging bit and winkers first time.”
Foreign raiders have dominated the Melbourne Cup in recent years. Irish invaders secured a one-two-three in 2017, and British horses took the top three places last year, when Cross Counter finished ahead of Marmelo and A Prince of Arran. A bigger, stronger version of Cross Counter has returned to Australia in a bid to defend his Melbourne Cup crown, while Mamelo and a Prince of Arran will also be back for another crack at the famous race.
Caulfield Cup winner Mer De Glace will aim to become the first horse to complete the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double since Ethereal in 2001. Surprise Baby is also highly rated, as is Finche, while Ispolini – Cross Counter’s stablemate – has been a popular selection among bettors, but the improving Constantinople looks like the one to beat right now.