Ben Thompson will ride in his second Melbourne Cup on Tuesday where he will get the leg-up on the Matthew Smith trained True Marvel.
The lightly-weighted eight-year-old son of Masked Marvel, who will be receiving 8.5kg from the top weight Gold Trip, will be third up on Tuesday, coming into the race on the back of four unplaced runs since he resumed after close to a three month break in the Wyong Cup on September 1 … but Thompson feels there is more to that form of the Cup outsider than first meets the eye.
‘He ran really well last time at Moonee Valley (in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup over 2500m),” said Thompson. “His sectionals were really nice.
“Cleveland (the race winner) was six lengths closer in the run and True Mervel only got beaten by three-and-a-half lengths.
There were three horses that ran an identical split there which was the quickest of the race at 11.50, so, the way he closed that day he seems in very good nick. I did go and gallop him he looks great. He was walking around with a lot of purpose and hopefully he’ll be bringing his best on Tuesday.”
What about Thompson’s connection to the Matthew Smith stable … and how did the Melbourne Cup ride come about?
“I was first introduced to Matt when he brought horses up to Queensland,” explained Thompson. “First time I rode for him was up here (in Queensland) … that was during the Winter Carnival, 2022 … the I rode Buenos Noches for him in The Newmarket.
“Now I’ve been fortunate enough to get the call-up for True Marvel in the Cup.
“I have ridden for one of the major owners of True Marvel before … in fact I rode for him when I was just and apprentice starting off. He said the last time I rode for him was in November 2014 on a horse for Robbie Lang when I had only been riding for three or four months. It’s crazy the way things turn out.
“Fortunately, I’m light so I can take the ride at 50kg.
“It was a great surprise when the call came. I’m grateful, excited and I can’t wait till Tuesday.”
Apart from the light weight, which is a huge plus in a race over 3200m, True Marvel, who is currently quoted as a $101 chance with online betting sites, also has some race distance form behind his name having finished second in the Group 1 Sydney Cup, third in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup and second in the Listed Sandown Cup … all feature races over 3200m … and, if you want to throw in a result out of left field … True Marvel has also won a hurdle race over the Melbourne Cup distance carrying 69.5kg!
In that last start, The Moonee Valley Gold Cup, True Marvel carried 55kg over a 2500m trip.
Having won up to 3800m (under 67.5kg in the Jerico Cup Qualifier) and with True Marvel having shown he is a proven out-and-out stayer … the increase in distance from his last run to the Melbourne Cup and the drop in weight from 55kg to 50kg means he comes into the race well primed for a run at what might be silly odds of $101.
Melbourne Cup 🏆: View the Field and Odds for the Melbourne Cup