By the time Melbourne Cup favourite Americain runs in Tuesday’s race he will have completed around 180km on the training track in Australia and much more on the gallops in France.
He will have run in two races totalling 5400m and walked countless circuits of his stable yard at the Werribee quarantine centre.
It will be by far the most testing Cup regime of any horse in the race – and it continued on Sunday with his routine 6000m combination of trot, canter, gallop.
“He does it because he needs it and because he can do it,” said the horse’s constant companion in France and on his three trips to Australia, Stephanie Nigge.
“It is not too much, he loves it.
“You can see him every day happy and wanting more.”
Indeed, you can.
Little more than 48 hours before Americain goes into the barriers to attempt his second Melbourne Cup victory he finished off his day’s work by striding over 2000m at three-quarter pace and then hopping and bucking when he was asked to go inside for breakfast.
“It is why he is such a fantastic horse,” Nigge said.
“He loves to work and he loves the race.”
Americain, fortunately for his Australian owners, also loves Werribee.
According to Nigge he is so fond of the western Melbourne suburb that is renowned for being home to Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s electoral office and Victoria’s largest water treatment works, he was taken back to France mid-year so he could return and again be quarantined at Werribee.
“I have never seen a horse like him,” Nigge said.
“As soon as he comes here he is more happy, he looks more healthy and he improves a lot.”
Nigge said the only problem Americain had encountered since arriving in Australia has been with his glue-on shoes, two of which came off in the Caulfield Cup.
The horse wears the special plates to cushion the pounding he gives his legs and Nigge said the problem had been caused by new shoes which had a thicker rubber layer than his regular set.
“We have the old models back on him for the Cup, so we don’t expect any problems,” she said.
Americain is the $5.50 Cup favourite with most bookmakers, firming slightly after drawing barrier 12.
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