Watch: The Impossible, Unbelievable Run That Made Yucatan Melbourne Cup Favourite
Has there ever been a better Melbourne Cup lead-up run?
Australia, meet your Melbourne Cup favourite, Yucatan.
This four-year-old fellow is the favourite because of its incredibly impressive lead-up run in a race called the Herbert Power Stakes.
If you're one of those people who's only interested in racing once a year, allow us to explain why Yucatan's win was so special.
Firstly, he drew wide. That's him there, the widest runner in a large field.
Rounding the first turn, he had settled near the rear of the field where he was still stuck wide. Not good. He was out there covering so much extra ground.
Yucatan held this position for a while until jockey James McDonald decided he'd had enough.
Off he went, circling the field. Normally when a jockey makes a mid-race move like this, the horse runs out of steam later in the race. But Yucatan just kept going.
And going, until he took a lead of two or three lengths on the home turn.
This soon extended to five or six lengths in the straight. Incredible. Most horses would have curled up their hooves after such a gut-busting run.
Not Yucatan, who won easily, although McDonald did ease him down well before the post.
So the winning margin wasn't huge. But the statement Yucatan sent to other Melbourne Cup contenders was.
This really was one heck of a win, and not just for all the reasons that meet the eye. There are two other reasons to take note of this performance
The first is historical: This was Yucatan's first run in Australia. in 2014, imported German horse Protectionist also had his first Aussie run in the Herbert Power Stakes (he ran a close 4th) before he won the Melbourne Cup easily.
Then there's the form of the beaten runners. Yucatan beat A Prince of Arran (that's him running third in the image above) in the Herbert Power Stakes. Prince of Arran since won the Lexus Stakes on Derby Day to earn a spot in the Melbourne Cup field.
Bottom line: Yucatan is following a well worn path in his lead-up races, he's beaten several top Melbourne Cup runners, he's got a brilliant young jockey and a top Irish trainer in Aidan O'Brien, who has come close to winning Melbourne Cups before.
And that, right there, is why he's the 2018 Melbourne Cup favourite.
Of course, favourites don't always win the Melbourne Cup. Indeed the last favourite to do it was Fiorente in 2013. That's about how often they win -- every four or five years.
We might just be due again. And Yucatan might just be the handsome horse to do it.
You can follow all the Cup Day winners, grinners and sinners live today from 10.15 am with The Blog That Stops A Nation here on 10 Daily.