Bondi Beach aiming to add Irish accent to Australia's race
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Bondi Beach was named after a quintessentially Australian place, but is among the many foreign raiders targeting victory in the country's most famous race.
The 5-year-old Irish galloper, prepared by Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien and ridden by champion English jockey Ryan Moore, is one of four entries from Australian owner Lloyd Williams, who will be chasing a fifth Melbourne Cup on Tuesday. Only Godolphin, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's racing enterprise, will have more starters in the 24-horse field.
Godolphin has been sending horses to the Melbourne Cup for 18 years without winning the southern hemisphere's most prestigious race, which this year yields prize money of 6 million Australian dollars ($4.6 million).
This year, Sheikh Mohammed has five horses starting in the 2-mile race at Flemington, including favorite Hartnell, trained by Australian John O'Shea. English trainer Charlie Appleby (Oceanographer and Qewy) and Saeed bin Suroor (Beautiful Romance and Secret Number) are handling the other four.
Godolphin chief executive John Ferguson said all his trainers are determined to be the drought breaker.
''Sure they'd like to win for themselves but also at the end of the day it's the team, team Godolphin, and they all appreciate what Sheikh Mohammed has done,'' Ferguson said. ''I don't mind who wins. All I care about is that Sheikh Mohammed, who has put so much into the world of horse racing and has committed so much time, energy and finance into creating this global team, I personally and all the team would just love to do it for him.''
Williams, 76, has three other contenders apart from Bondi Beach: Assign, Gallante and Almandin.
''I'm as happy as you can be going into the Melbourne Cup,'' Williams told Melbourne radio. ''It's a very hard race to win. It's such an iconic race.''
Five-time winning trainer Lee Freedman has Our Ivanhowe and Exospheric in the field, and Ciaron Maher is preparing the only Australian-bred horse, Jameka, for a bid at the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double.
Michelle Payne, who became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup when she rode Prince of Penzance to victory last year, didn't get a mount in the 2016 edition after sustaining injuries in a race fall in May that limited her preparation.
Thousands of people lined the streets in rainy conditions for the annual Melbourne Cup Parade on Monday. More than 100,000 spectators are expected at the Flemington racecourse for the 156th Melbourne Cup.