Three-time Melbourne Cup winner Damien Oliver is facing last-minute heartbreak for his farewell to the 3200m classic on Tuesday.
Alenquer’s trainer Mike Moroney is in a race against time to have the $61 chance ready after a veterinary’s discovery following trackwork on Sunday morning.
The stable advised Racing Victoria stewards that the gelding suffered a stone bruise.
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A hoof pad will be applied for the next 24 hours and the gelding will be examined again by vets on Monday as a part of mandatory pre-race inspections.
Tuesday’s race is due to be Oliver’s 32nd and last appearance in the Melbourne Cup ahead of his retirement in December.
Oliver rode Kalapour into the Melbourne Cup with a win in Saturday’s 2500m Archer Stakes at Flemington but did not rue his existing commitment with Alenquer.
“Unfortunately (Kalapour) is a bit light for me but I am happy with Alenquer,” he said.
“(Alenquer) ran well last time. It will be difficult for him to win but he will be better than his odds suggest.”
Despite the injury scare Alenquer is still rated a “nine out of 10” chance to get up for the Melbourne Cup.
“He seems fine. It’s minimal,” trainer Moroney said.
“It just depends on how long the bruise takes to come out. We have 48 hours, so we will just see how we go. It’s only a bruise.”
Alenquer’s last victory was in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Gold Cup (2100m) in Ireland in May 2022 and has since gone winless in eight starts across France and Australia.
Alenquer drew barrier nine in the field of 24 for the $8m Melbourne Cup.
“It’ll be great to be a part of his fairy tale, wouldn’t it,” Moroney said after the barrier draw on Saturday.
“Don’t mind being a part of that. He’s had 31 rides and I’ve had 24 runners so we’re both seasoned.”
Moroney trained Brew to victory in the Melbourne Cup in 2000.
Meanwhile, Vauban firmed as a $3.20 race favourite after drawing barrier three.
Trainer Willie Mullins’ first assignment after flying in from Ireland on Saturday was to head to the Werribee International Horse Centre to watch over Vauban and stablemate Absurde complete their final piece of fast work before Tuesday’s race.
“I’m very pleased with both of them,” Mullins said.
“Both horses seem good and well and sound.
“I think he’s as good as Max Dynamite, maybe better, but we’ll find that out on Tuesday.
“He’s our strongest chance and may be my strongest chance ever.”
Max Dynamite has been Mullins’ best finish in the Melbourne Cup, running second to Prince Of Penzance in the 2015 edition.
Vauban heads the betting ahead of last year’s winner Gold Trip at $4.40 after the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained galloper drew barrier two.
Besides Gold Trip, Maher and Eustace will be represented by Right You Are, Ashrun, Future History and Interpretation while Chris Waller, who won the Cup with Verry Elleegant in 2021, will have four runners – Soulcombe, Sheraz, Magical Lagoon and More Felons.
Vow And Declare, the 2019 winner, will line up for his fourth shot at the race and drew barrier 19.
He came from gate 21 when successful.
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