Constantinople can’t win Cup: Williams
He may be the $8 second favourite for the Melbourne Cup but Constantinople will struggle to win the race this year, according to owner Nick Williams.
Nick Williams and father Lloyd were looking at the Galileo four-year-old as a Cup prospect but felt he wasn't ready this year.
Hall of Fame trainer David Hayes had a different opinion and bought him off Coolmore to set him for the race.
He was one of many unlucky runners in the Caulfield Cup, when finishing fourth behind Mer De Glace, but Williams felt he wasn't the one to beat.
"He's a horse that we discussed but I don't think he's ready, mentally. He's got some tricks," he said.
"We didn't think he was a three-year-old for this year. I think the Caulfield Cup showed that.
"It's rare you win the Melbourne Cup with horses that aren't quite there and it may have come too soon this year for that horse."
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However, Williams still has plenty of respect for Constantinople.
"In 2020 I'd be surprised if he wasn't heading up the market," he said.
The Williams pair have three Cup hopefuls trying to win the race for the seventh time - Latrobe, Master Of Reality and Twilight Payment.
"I'd be amazed if they don't run really well," Williams said.
The team believes Latrobe ($26) is their No.1 seed ahead of Master Of Reality ($26) and Twilight Payment ($67).
"One of the things you need to win this race is having no setbacks," Williams said.
"He's had the perfect preparation and hasn't missed a day. He's without question probably the classiest runner in the field.
"The question about him is the two miles but 2400m European horses seem to be the right horses for our staying races and I think he's a terrific hope."
Master Of Reality has the services of Frankie Dettori who, despite winning more than 250 Group 1 races worldwide, is desperate to secure his first Cup.
"Frankie said there's only one trophy he needs now and he took the firm view that Master Of Reality has the best staying form in the world to be competitive out here," Williams said.
"This race, at this point of his career, means more to him than any other race in the world."
MER-KY TERRITORY FOR CUP FAVOURITE
Japanese trainer Hisashi Shimizu honestly doesn't know if his Melbourne Cup favourite Mer De Glace will stay the 3200m.
His recent Caulfield Cup win (2400m) was the furthest he'd been in his 18-race career but he won the race with ease over Vow And Declare and Mirage Dancer.
Shimizu was bombarded with one question straight after the barrier draw on Saturday evening.
Will he run a strong 3200m?
"I've been asked this question a million times since in the past few days. I believe in the horse and the jockey so he should be able to handle it," he said.
His father Rulership was much like Mer De Glace in that he mainly raced between 1800m and 2200m but his son will look to extended his brilliance to a place he's never been before.
"With that breeding, it's hard to say. Some of them can stay two miles but some of them can even be sprinters," Shimizu said.
"The breeding shows it's possible for him to stay two miles but we won't actually know until he runs the race.
"He's been well since the Caulfield Cup win so there was nothing to worry about and he's been working well."
And his success at Caulfield, punters have backed him into $6.50 favourite for Tuesday.
"We wanted to have a horse close to 100 per cent for the Caulfield Cup then if he ran well the plan was to go on to the Melbourne Cup," Shimizu said.
"It's a huge honour to have a favourite for the Melbourne Cup. I'm not even worrying about the other horses. I'm just trying to get mine right. Once I start thinking about rivals it will be never-ending."
Shimizu wasn't fazed about drawing barrier two.
"I've never had a runner in this race. I've only watched repays of the past so I'm not sure about what's the best barrier," he said.
"There's a good straight until the first turn so I don't really think the barrier will affect him that much.
"I'll leave everything to Damian Lane, tactics-wise."
Lane has won three times on Mer De Glace including twice in Japan in April and June this year.
Shimizu said he was feeling the expectations of having a Melbourne Cup favourite, knowing fans back home will be glued to their TV screens.
"I'm not the biggest trainer in Japan but I'm lucky to have this horse," Shimizu said.
"I feel like I'm carrying the Japanese flag and feel so reasonable (to win) now."
And if he wins?
"I like a drink, so I'll be having a few," he said.