Updated on 09/17/2011 12:49PM

Mamool eyes Melbourne Cup


Mamool could become the first British-trained winner of Australia's biggest race, the Group 1 Tooheys New Melbourne Cup, after he drew well, in post 11, for the two-mile handicap at Flemington Race Course in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Mamool, the prerace favorite, is one of four Northern Hemisphere-trained horses in a 24-runner field for a race that has twice been won by Irish raiders - in 1993 by Vintage Crop and in 2002 by Media Puzzle. Trained in England by Saeed bin Suroor for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation, Mamool will carry co-highweight of 122 pounds.

Mamool has solid form in top company, traveling to Germany to notch Group 1 victories in each of his last two starts, and will not be troubled by the recent rain. The Flemington turf is likely to be soft on Tuesday.

Frankie Dettori will ride Mamool, and he should benefit from having ridden in the Melbourne Cup on seven previous occasions, coming closest to winning when he finished second on Central Park in 1999.

The home team does not look particularly strong, as Hugs Dancer, a second-tier British raider, finished within three lengths of the winner last month in one of the more important trial races, the Caulfield Cup.

Australian trainer Bart Cummings, who has won the Melbourne Cup a record 12 times, will be represented by Frightening, a rapidly improving 4-year-old. An emphatic winner of his last two starts, Frightening has top jockey Shane Dye booked and will receive 12 pounds from Mamool.

Saint-Cloud: Bago still perfect

Bago maintained his unbeaten record in superb style, winning the Group 1 Criterium International by six lengths at Saint-Cloud in France on Saturday.

Trained by Jonathan Pease, the 2-year-old son of Nashwan was sent off as the 2-5 favorite in a field of seven. Confidently ridden by Thierry Gillet, Bago was brought very wide into the stretch and always had the race under control, leading with three-sixteenths to run.

Bago's time of 1:47.0 was three-fifths of a second quicker than the older horses managed 35 minutes later in the Group 3 Prix Perth over the same mile on very soft turf.

Bago is owned and was bred by the Niarchos family, who won the Breeders' Cup Mile with Six Perfections a week earlier. The Niarchos family has plenty to look forward to in 2004 as they also have Denebola, winner of France's top race for 2-year-old fillies, the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp.

Their racing manager, Alan Cooper, said afterward: "Bago really showed his class today. Our only worry was the ground. It has been so dry all year that he has never even trained on a soft surface. He is entered in all the top races, and we will wait until the spring before deciding upon his program."