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Belmont Gold Cup Winner Amade Has Melbourne Cup Target - Armchair Empire

Belmont Gold Cup Winner Amade Has Melbourne Cup Target

European horses have a fine recent record in the Belmont Gold Cup Invitational and that trend of transatlantic success continued in New York this year with victory for the French-trained five-year-old Amade.

Although bred in Ireland, the gelding is based across the English Channel at the stables of Alessandro and Giuseppe Botti. In the aftermath of Amade's big race win at Belmont Park, one half of the training duo highlighted another globetrotting adventure was the ultimate aim.

"He will prepare for the Melbourne Cup," Alessandro Botti told the Racing Post. "This was a test he had to win to go to the Melbourne Cup."

Amade's journey from Irish import in France to a hopeful for Australia's most famous race and one of the world's richest handicaps is quite remarkable. His form in minor French events saw him win his last three starts in 2018 over trips in and around two miles.

Looking at his pedigree, you wouldn't think Amade was bred to be a stayer. His sire Casamento won over a mile and also 10 furlongs, while the dam was by American sprinter Five Star Day of Vanderbilt Handicap fame.

Nonetheless, Amade has relished tests of stamina belying his breeding. After winning a handicap on his British debut at Kempton Park on the polytrack, he followed-up at Chelmsford City in a fast-track qualifier for the All-Weather Championships.

Although then beaten in the All-Weather Marathon on Finals day at Lingfield on Good Friday, Amade then prevailed by a neck when taking a big step up in grade at Belmont Park.

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As the Belmont Gold Cup is over two miles and the Melbourne Cup is roughly the same distance and often doesn't need a true stayer to win it, it's a logical target. The race that stops a nation Down Under attracts worldwide interest given how valuable the purse is.

British bookmakers believe other horses have more pressing claims than Amade at this stage. The likes of Master Of Reality, Falcon Eight and last year's Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter look sure to be among Betting.Betfair's horse racing tips in the futures market on this one.

Connections of Master Of Reality, trainer Joseph O'Brien and owner Lloyd Williams, teamed up with the 2017 Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling. As this horse of theirs was a close-up third in the Ascot Gold Cup over half-a-mile further, there are absolutely no doubts about his stamina.

Falcon Eight hails from another Irish stable that knows what it takes to have a Melbourne Cup winner - that of Dermot Weld. He's saddled the winner twice in the past, including the historic success with Vintage Crop in 19993, and his latest hopeful toughed it out to win a Group 3 over two miles at Sandown Park on Eclipse day.

Cross Counter triumphed at Flemington 12 months ago despite being hampered and denied a clear run. He represents the world-renowned Godolphin operation and was far from disgraced when fourth in the Ascot Gold Cup after previously winning the Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup night at Meydan in March.

This is the elevated company Amade will find himself in if balloted in to the Melbourne Cup. He has proven he can win on lengthy journeys overseas, however, and that is a key asset for any European horse heading Down Under.

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