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Willie Mullins has booked riders with Australian experience for his three Melbourne Cup runners

Irish trainer Willie Mullins has booked riders with Australian experience for his three Melbourne Cup runners.

In previous trips to the Melbourne Cup, Mullins has enlisted European jockeys but has switched to Hong Kong-based Zac Purton (Max Dynamite) and Joao Moreira (Thomas Hobson) with local rider Stephen Baster picking up the Wicklow Brave mount.

“My intention was I wanted to get jockeys from down here and then out of the blue Joao Moreira rang looking for the ride on Thomas Hobson,” Mullins said.

“At the time we thought he’d be in the balance and could ride him if he got in and I had been chatting to Zac Purton about riding Max Dynamite a few years ago.

“I thought I’d book two jockeys and if I needed a third one I’d find one and Stephen Baster has been on fire down here.

“I’m very pleased to have these jockeys but it wasn’t the way I was when I first came down.”

Mullins’ first runner in the Cup was Holy Orders, ridden by David Condon, in 2003.

He returned a decade later with Simenon, fourth for Richard Hughes, before Frankie Dettori rode Max Dynamite, second in 2015, and Wicklow Brave, 22nd, last year.

Mullins is happy with his entrants and says it’s like heading to a Grand National Steeplechase knowing anything can happen.

“The Melbourne Cup is such an open race and probably more open this year,” Mullins said.

“I’m hoping we can catch a cheque with one, maybe two and if not all three, but it’s very hard to fancy any one of them to win it.”

Mullins said Thomas Hobson had not been blessed by a good draw but noted Moreira finished second on Heartbreak City in last year’s Cup from barrier 23.

“If he could work that oracle again, that would be fantastic,” he said.

Mullins said those watching Wicklow Brave’s run live in the Caulfield Cup saw a better performance than those watching on television while Max Dynamite likes the track and the travel and is in good form.

“We didn’t get as many runs into him as we would have liked and didn’t run him in high profile races on purpose,” Mullins said of Max Dynamite.

“I just hope that doesn’t all backfire on us.”

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