Lots of attention has been on one horse called Yucatan and, at the moment, it seems to be the hot favourite to win the Cup.
Why? Well, Yucatan had a brilliant win in October at Caulfield in the Group Two Herbert Power Stakes. Many say it was one of the best Cup lead up races you will ever see. In short, he was way out in front of the rest of the runners and really slowed down in the last bit of the race and still won easily.
The horse is trained by Aidan O’Brien who has won big races all over the world like the Cox Plate, the English and Irish Derby, the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe and more). Many think it is only a matter of time before trainer Aidan O’Brien wins the Cup and that Yucatan is the one to do it for him. But every year there is a news storyline asking the question about whether the Irish trainer can finally win!
Yucatan has also been in the news a little bit because of his name. This Melbourne Cup contender named Yucatan comes from Ireland but there is another horse called Yucatan registered in South Australia that races under that name. The Cup contender O’Brien trained horse was going to have to have a name change for the cup but that’s all been sorted out now and he can race under his name Yucatan after all. Phew … well, maybe…
The thing is, there are a few things going against Yucatan getting up to win.
For starters… there has NEVER been a previous winner with a word beginning with the letter “Y” in its name.
The letter “Y” and the letter “U” are the only letters that have NEVER featured in the start of names of past winners. So that sort of sucks for Yucatan and also the other horses Youngstar and Yogi who are also looking to run in this year’s Cup! But there is a first time for everything right?!
Secondly, favourites don’t tend to win the Cup. In the 157 year history of the Cup the favourite has won only 34 times… so that’s 23% of the time the favourite has won. Marmelo was the favourite in 2016 but Almandin got up to win (although he was a short price too!) And in 2015 Michelle Payne rode Prince of Penzance to victory at odds of $101! Yucatan at the moment has odds of about $6. It’s a sure bet that those odds will only go lower before Tuesday’s race.
Yucatan is due to be ridden in the Cup by jockey James McDonald. Maybe he will be the one to break the Melbourne Cup curse of the letter “Y”.
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