It’s nearly always complicated with highly strung Melbourne Cup mare My Ambivalent.
And if trainer Roger Varian didn’t have enough to do trying to work how to manage an interrupted lead-up to Tuesday’s race, he’s brought another troublemaker along for the spring carnival ride.
My Ambivalent and stablemate Farraaj, who runs in the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington on Saturday, have been in Melbourne since the end of September.
“Both horses don’t have straightforward personalities,” Varian said.
“If we had sent a travel companion for My Ambivalent it wouldn’t have been Farraaj.
“He’s ran third in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile as a two-year-old and had a trip back to the States last year that didn’t pan out.”
But it’s My Ambivalent who has given Varian and his staff the most grief.
Caulfield Cup plans for the mare had to be shelved because of a stone bruise.
It then seemed her Melbourne Cup campaign was over when she was led from the training track with what appeared to be a leg injury.
She has since been passed fit and Varian, who secured a Group One victory in France on Thursday, was content with what he saw at Werribee on Friday morning.
“She’s not a mare that needs massive amounts of work and she’s highly charged most mornings.”
My Ambivalent was in a cranky mood on Thursday but she was on her best behaviour 24 hours later.
She was sent over 1400m, running home the last 400m in 24.5ecs under race rider Andrea Atzeni.
Farraaj has also had his moments since arriving but as he approaches the Mackinnon, his demeanour has improved.
Reinforcing the fact Farraaj is not out here to keep My Ambivalent company, Varian says Farraaj shouldn’t be underestimated in the Mackinnon.
“He’s a good horse and has bounced back to form this year.”
Varian’s optimism has been mirrored in Mackinnon betting with Australia’s corporate wagering agencies caught off-guard on Friday.
Such has been the support for Farraaj, he will be one of the best-backed runners in one of the biggest betting meetings of the year after firming from $16 to $9.50.