Lloyd Williams, the dominant owner with six horses in the Melbourne Cup, has called out rival English trainer Ed Dunlop for his comments suggesting Williams could “boss” the race with a quarter of the field.
Williams raised the temperature ahead of the Cup, telling RSN Racing and Sport Radio that he felt Dunlop – the trainer of 2011 runner-up Red Cadeaux – should withdraw his remarks, and that he hoped Fawkner – his Australian-bred entrant – would win and beat the internationals.
“For a start … it’s extremely bad manners,” he said.
“Frankly, as a visitor to this country I think Ed Dunlop probably should withdraw his remarks. It’s a slight on our integrity in this country and this state.
“The integrity (of racing) in this state is, I think, the best in the world.
“The chairman of stewards, Terry Bailey, does an outstanding job – frankly, as a visitor to this country I think Ed Dunlop probably should withdraw his remarks.
“It’s a slight on our integrity in this country and this state.”
Dunlop had made his remarks in the wake of Saturday’s barrier draw, where five of Williams’ six runners drew barriers inside barrier 10 – two (Masked Marvel), seven (Sea Moon), eight (Fawkner), nine (Seville) and 10 (last year’s winner Green Moon).
“I hope Mr Williams isn’t allowed to boss this race,” he said.
But Williams dismissed the notion of using “team tactics” in the Cup.
“I speak with the same authority as an Old Etonian like Ed Dunlop,” he said.
“I’m surprised an Old Etonian would speak like that.”
Williams hopes Fawkner flies the flag for local horses.
He was upbeat about the chances of most of his horses, but he expressed a particular hope for Fawkner, the horse that won the Caulfield Cup to earn a start in Tuesday’s race.
“I think he will run (the 3,200m),” he said. “I thought he’d win the Caulfield Cup, but people didn’t think he’d run the 24 (2,400m).
“I would love this horse to win. I’d love an Australian-bred horse that was here in Melbourne to beat all the internationals – even though I’ve got five internationals (myself).
“I would really, dearly love it for Australia because I’m terribly Australian and I love the Melbourne Cup.”
Williams said that the 2012 winner, Green Moon, was “looking very much like a very dour stayer” as he prepared for the Cup.
“If you look at him you’d say he’s in perfect order,” he said. “I think he’ll run well with the blinkers on.”
He also revealed in the interview that his stayer Mourayan – who is drawn in barrier 19 and is the rank outsider – would become a dressage horse for one of his grand-daughters after the Cup.