In this house we're all gripped by a a bout of First Tuesday fever and the flames were fanned this morning by getting up early to catch some of the action from a rain-soaked Flemington on VRC Derby day.
Lion Tamer was highly impressive in the Derby itself, his sire Storming Home adding to Street Cry's efforts to claim 'sire of sires' honours for the late, lovely Machiavellian. That Lion Tamer is from the same family as one of my Melbourne Cup favourites Harris Tweed (NZ), who is pictured here on last year's Cup eve with his former work rider now Newmarket trainer Toby Coles, makes him even more special. They are both descendants of the Auckland Cup winner and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner My Blue Denim and race for the their breeder, Phil Bayly.
Even more impressive was the Bart Cummings-trained So You Think, who is now favourite to give the Cups King his 13th victory in the Melbourne Cup. Bart is currently in hospital but no doubt itching to get out in time for Tuesday. He turns 83 very soon, the same age as So You Think's owner, Dato Tan Chin Nam.
So You Think won his second Cox Plate last Saturday before strolling to victory in the Mackinnon Stakes with the testing ground not bothering him at all. A victory for him on Tuesday in the 150th running of the Cup would be fitting indeed, not just for a highly successful owner/trainer combination but because this son of High Chaparral looks like a true champion in the making.
Of course we'll have to barrack for the home team too, so to see Manighar, Illustrious Blue, Campanologist, Holberg or Profound Beauty run well would be fantastic. Can't of course rule out last year's winner, Shocking, who has unfortunately drawn widest of the 24 runners, and I can see Harris Tweed running another big race on ground that he will like much better than last year, when he was a running-on fifth from a bad draw.
On the home front, we've been really pleased with Alcalde ever since he joined us from the July sale and his schooling session this morning under the ever-obliging Will Kennedy has done nothing to change our minds. He's a lovely straightforward horse who seems really to enjoy his jumping and we're very much looking forward to his first run for this stable. Will also schooled Kadouchski, who is very pleased with himself at the moment and raring to get back to the track after a long enough absence. The change in Kadouchski since he came here has been enormous. He's gone from being a rather meek and slightly pathetic-looking creature to one who rules the roost out in the field with his stablemates and wears a permanently cheeky look on his face. He, too, is a delight to have around, but then I say that about each and every horse in the yard, even Ben.