Happy to be riding in the Melbourne Cup again is Tommy Berry

Happy to be riding in the Melbourne Cup again is Tommy Berry

It has become normal for European horse talent to migrate to Australia in search of the riches of Melbourne’s Spring Carnival. Since the French-trained horse Dunaden won the Melbourne Cup in 2011, the prefixes IRE, GB, FR, and GER have won nine out of the last 11 editions of the race, while race legend Makybe Diva, who won three straight editions starting in 2003, was bred in Britain.

At the most recent Tattersalls Horses in Training sale in Newmarket, Antipodean buyers bought 17% of the lots for 6.1 million guineas, demonstrating an emerging trend. However, two human exports from Britain who are having a lasting impact on Australia’s training scene are responsible for six of this year’s 24 Cup candidates, 13 of whom are European-bred.

Happy to be riding in the Melbourne Cup again is Tommy Berry

While earning her degree six years ago, Annabel Neasham, who turns 32 next month, would occasionally ride point-to-point horses for Tom Ward. Today, the Northamptonshire native is getting ready to train her first Melbourne Cup runner. Even though Neasham only obtained a license 20 months ago, the Teme Valley-owned Numerian is a 70-1 long shot. However, Neasham has overcome similar odds in the past.

The first lady of Australian racing, Gai Waterhouse, who won her first Melbourne Cup in 2013, nearly two decades after she started training, and Peter Moody of Black Caviar fame are both ahead of her in the metropolitan training premiership. During that time, she has saddled three Group 1 winners of six Group 1 races, as well as 23 stakes scorers.

Neasham supervised the Sydney business of Ciaron Maher before going it alone before her 30th birthday, but David Eustace, the brother of Newmarket trainer Harry, son of James, and one-half of the formidable Ciaron Maher stable, tops that list.

Eustace described Neasham to racing.com in the following manner: “She makes an impression pretty immediately. Her achievement has been astounding, but she deserves it wholeheartedly.

“In terms of how quickly she made things happen, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Being a good horseman is one thing; earning people’s trust when it comes to sourcing horses is quite another. She pays attention, inquires, makes decisions quickly, and is not afraid to take chances.

Since joining Maher in the 2018–19 season, Eustace, who eight years prior “came [to Australia] for experience and never envisioned staying,” has won 19 Group 1 races, including the 2020 Cox Plate with Sir Dragonet.

For Australian Bloodstock, their runners this year include the topweight French import Gold Trip and one of the more anticipated southern hemisphere-bred contenders, recent Group 1 victor Smokin’ Romans, a 16-1 long shot.

Eustace declared, “If I had a ride in the race, I’d be on Gold Trip, next on Smokin’ Romans, and finally on Interpretation.”

“Gold Trip is a weight-for-age horse, which I believe will be very important in a race like this. He is the race’s class despite the fact that many horses have barely made it.

We’re quite proud of the crew, he continued. The effort put out over the previous six months to bring the horses there—and to get them there in such good order—is demonstrated by the fact that there are five runners in this event.