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Melbourne Cup: Fanshawe far from fazed by Owl's wide draw.

Byline: Alan Byrne

JAMES FANSHAWE is hoping that local wisdom about the draw proves misplaced after Arctic Owl was berthed on the wide outside for tomorrow's Foster's Melbourne Cup.

The Smurfit Irish St Leger winner's odds were on the drift with some bookmakers after he drew stall 21-though statistics do not necessarily support the consensus that a high draw can be a serious disadvantage as the field jostles for position on the run to the first turn.

Last year's winner, Rogan Josh, came from the same stall and, in percentage terms, the most successful stall is the highest of all, number 24.

Fanshawe, trying to improve on a fifth place last year with Travelmate, said: "There's no point in being concerned because you get what you're given and that's that. Anyway, I'd rather be drawn high than low. We're nicely out of the way and the high-drawn numbers seem to have done well in recent years."

The trainer feels Arctic Owl is in good shape for the race, the horse having moved nicely again at Sandown yesterday. He added: "What we need now is

a clear run and a bit of luck in running. "

Asked whether he was confident of a good run, Fanshawe said: "I get less and less confident as the race gets closer-hopefully, the horse doesn't!"

Dual Derby and Arc-winning trainer John Oxx, saddling his first Melbourne Cup runner in Enzeli, was slightly concerned that the former Ascot Gold Cup winner's position in stall six might leave him at risk of being squeezed out early.

But he is more worried about the possible effects on the horse of the journey to Australia.

"You don't really know how the trip affects your horse

until the race itself. A lot of horses have run well here, but there are a significant number who have run badly," Oxx said.

"You can't possibly be confident coming all this way. There are a lot of unknowns. The horse has been working well-nothing flashy, just ticking over."

Enzeli was bought by Kerry Packer and the man who built Melbourne's massive casino, Lloyd Williams, for about pounds 200,000 to race in the Cup. But, under the deal, his former owner the Aga Khan will receive about one-third of the prize-money if the horse wins.

Oxx said: "The owners don't know much about the horse and I don't know much about the Melbourne Cup, so between us we're all confused!"
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 6, 2000
Words:406
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