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Cliffs Of Moher seeks to scale heights in Melbourne Cup

5 Nov 2018

Last year's Investec Derby runner-up will seek to hit jackpot in Flemington feature

Cliffs Of Moher, centre, splits Wings Of Eagles, left, and Cracksman in the Investec Derby last year. Picture: Racingfotos.com

Cliffs Of Moher will be among ten European challengers in the Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington in the early hours (4am) of Tuesday.

Last year’s Investec Derby runner-up is one of three Aidan O’Brien-trained runners in Australia’s premier race, although on this occasion he will line-up as The Cliffsofmoher. He has to race under another name because there is already a two-year-old called Cliffs Of Moher trained in Sydney.

Ryan Moore will partner the Galileo colt, as he did at Epsom last year when the combination traded at 1-8 in-running on Betfair only to be caught in the closing stages by Wings Of Eagles.

On his latest start the four-year-old finished third in the Caulfield Cup in what was the second of two Australian starts for him. He is a general 12-1 chance.

“Cliffs Of Moher is a very classy horse, but he has plenty of weight,” O’Brien said. “The Cup is a tough, difficult race, but we’ve always thought he could have a big one in him.”

European-trained horses dominate the betting and many believe the Ian Williams-trained Magic Circle, one to look out for in the Long Distance category of the QIPCO British Champions Series next year, is primed for a big run.

He secured his place on the plane with an impressive success in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown in May and has been specifically saved for the showpiece.

“We’ve got a huge chance. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” Williams said. “Everything has gone, to this point, touch wood, spot on with him.