Sport Racing Fiorente firms for Cup as punters pounce
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Fiorente firms for Cup as punters pounce

Fiorente takes a dip after trackwork at Flemington.
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Fiorente’s hold on Melbourne Cup favouritism was secured after the horse met with strong support at the traditional call of the card.

One punter placed $50,000 on Fiorente at $7.50, and other bets on the Gai Waterhouse-trained runner saw him shorten into $7.

Waterhouse’s son Tom tried to back the horse to win $1 million but he was knocked backed by bookmakers, while a separate attempt by a punter to win $400,000 was limited to $100,000.

Australian racing’s first lady is also saddling up Tres Blue in the Cup, but there was limited interest for him at $21.

Two-time Cup-winning jockey Damien Oliver says he couldn’t be happier with his booking for Fiorente.

“He just does everything you ask of him and he has trained on well since the Cox Plate,” Oliver told RSN Racing and Sport Radio.

“When you ask him to quicken he’s got great acceleration and he relaxes well in his races, so he’s just got the perfect attitude for a Melbourne Cup horse.

“It’s got a lot of depth this field this year … up to half the field have got strong winning chances, but I’ve got a lot of respect for the imported horses and for Lloyd Williams’s horses as well.”

Verema, meanwhile, also came in for solid support at the call of the card, including one $7,500 beat each way at $15.

There continues to be steady money for the French mare, whose trainer Alain de Royer Dupre rated her as good as his 2010 winner Americain.

She is drawn inside in barrier three, which poses a minor concern for de Royer Dupre.

“We are only careful because she is a filly with a very long action and if you have no pace there could a problem,” he said.

“She is a similar horse to Americain, but I think the level of competition is going up every year and the competition is very tough.”

There were moves at longer odds for Ibicenco, who was backed to win $500,000 at odds of $101, forcing his price into $61, and Ethiopia was supported at $91 to win more than $250,000.

One bet to win $100,000 was placed on Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner, while runner-up to him Dandino ($14), as well as Irish runner Simenon ($18), also had some support.

But most punters seem to have gone cold on Mount Athos since Saturday’s barrier draw.

An unlucky fifth last year, Mount Athos had been supported into favouritism in some markets last week on the back of strong trackwork.

But drawing barrier 22 has dented the confidence of punters, and there was only minor interest in him at the call of the card at $11 except one bet written for him to win $200,000.

There was a handful of smaller bets on Metropolitan winner Seville ($18), but punters seemed disinterested in the defeated Caulfield Cup favourite Hawkspur at $16.

The outsider for the Cup remains Sydney Cup winner Mourayan at $151.