The Melbourne Cup is a fiendishly tricky puzzle to solve and while Ryan likes his ride's chances, the same can be said of a few in the field...
"I don’t think this is a race which you can go into being overly-confident, but I have a leading chance, that’s all I can say."
04.00am Flemington, Tuesday
Although the race-rhythm of the Melbourne Cup is unique and history pretty much counts for little, I think it is fair to say that I know a lot of the fancied horses in here pretty well.
Going down in weight order, I have ridden Green Moon, Red Cadeaux, Sea Moon, Fiorente, Dandino, Mount Athos and Simenon, so you would think that I would have a pretty good idea of their merits.
In terms of pure talent, I would probably say that Sea Moon was the best of that bunch. Because, on his day, he was a top-class horse when the boss had him, as he showed when winning the Voltigeur by 8 lengths from Al Kazeem and when beating Dunaden by 3 1/2 lengths in the Hardwicke - where Red Cadeaux and Fiorente were well behind him.
So I am delighted to see that he has come good in Australia once again.
But I also won two Royal Ascot races in the space of five days on Simenon, finished Group 1-placed in a Coronation Cup and a Hong Kong Vase on 2011 Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux, won a Princess Of Wales's on Fiorente, a Geoffrey Freer on Mount Athos, and partnered Dandino to an American St Leger win recently, so the others certainly don't lack for class either.
And that is what makes this race so difficult to win. Because it is basically full of Group 1 horses in a handicap that all have the ability to win if things fall their way. And in this 24-runner race, you need luck, trust me.
Obviously, things didn't pan out ideally for Mount Athos in this race last year.
But - like I said here in a piece a couple of months ago, so go and read it if you want the full story, as I am not going over it all again - while I was gutted after the race, I don't think I could have done a lot different.
Mount Athos can be a tricky horse. But he must come in here with a big chance if it all clicks into place for him, as his second to Harris Tweed - with Tac de Boistron and Camborne in behind - at Goodwood last time could not have worked out much better. In fact, it probably makes him the pick of the weights. A draw in 22 certainly isn't ideal, mind you.
I am certainly happy to be riding Dandino though and there are worse draws than his in stall four. The jury is out whether he stays 2m - his record clearly shows you that, and that is the question mark about him in this - but he is a very talented and straightforward horse, and the promise of his second in the Caulfield Cup last time was there for all to see. He comes into this race at the peak of his powers, and is a horse that travels and quickens, and gives you options.
You also have to give Simenon a great shout, and I was surprised to see that he is around a 20-1 chance on Betfair.
Around this time last year, Willie was getting him ready for a hurdling campaign, so it would be a great training feat for him to go and win this race a year later. He ran really well on the Flat in the summer and has all the attributes that you need to go close, and his third to Sea Moon over 1m4f at Caulfield last time was very promising and showed that he is not a one-dimensional stayer.
In summary, I don't think this is a race which you can go into being overly-confident, but I have a leading chance, that's all I can say.
But so do about a dozen others, and that's the problem and reality when running for such a valuable and prestigious prize. And the wide-open betting underlines that.