John Gosden

Trainer John Gosden (Image: Racing Post)

Ascot gets Lexus Melbourne Cup flavour

The 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup received a big push in London in the lead-up to the Royal Ascot Carnival but Australia's most famous race is not so hard to sell these days.

With prizemoney of $8 million, along with its reputation as one of the world's elite staying races, Europe's racing royalty are already well aware of its charms with many making plans for the first Tuesday in November.

On the eve of Britain's famous Royal Carnival at Ascot, one of the country's most famous trainers, John Gosden, best summed up the experience of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

"It's such a great event to be part of," he said.

"The funny thing is, by the time you've run the race, you don't mind where you finish because it's so much fun."

Gosden was speaking to Racing.com's Jason Richardson at the luncheon hosted by officials from the Victoria Racing Club at ex-pat Australian chef Skye Gyngell's Spring Restaurant.

Gosden was at Flemington last spring watching his Ebor winner Muntahaa struggle in the wet conditions for ninth placing behind Cross Counter.

"It was a bit of a problem that morning because it rained quite a lot," he said. "He likes to bounce off the ground and suddenly came in torrential monsoons."

Gosden said Royal Ascot was always a good pointer to Flemington.

"We are running some good staying races here and if one of them does really well we might be thinking of coming down to Melbourne," he said.

"Then, we've got the Ebor festival coming, which is one of those races which we look at for a Melbourne Cup, so to that extent it is an exciting time of year to find the eligible customers."

Gosden was one of numerous racing celebrities from both hemispheres to experience lunch Australian-style.

Some of the guests included the likes of last year's runner-up Hughie Morrison (Marmelo) and the third-placed trainer Charlie Fellowes (Prince Of Arran), while James Cummings and Gai Waterhouse also showed up to support the promotion of the 159th Melbourne Cup this November.

Gosden takes centre stage later in the week when his amazing stayer Stradivarius runs as the short-priced favourite in the Ascot Gold Cup. Gosden said he was watching the skies closely.

"We don't want it to rain because he loves to bounce off the ground," Gosden said. "He has a great weapon as a two-and-a-half miler as he has a phenomenal turn of foot but if it gets too soft, it blunts his turn of foot and that leaves him vulnerable."

It seems unlikely that a horse of Stradivarius' quality would ever venture to Australia for a handicap race but Gosden said it hadn't been ruled out.

"You never know what's in the future," he said.