Bart challenged

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MELBOURNE:  Even at 81, ‘Cups King’ Bart Cummings believes his autobiography may have come too soon.
The master trainer aims to add another chapter to his remarkable story today as he chases a 13th Melbourne Cup triumph.
And Australia’s favourite trainer has given himself every chance, with three entrants in the country’s biggest horse- race, including the A$4.80 favourite, Viewed, and A$8 fancy Roman Emperor.
Cummings said he finally wrote the book to get rid of pesky publishers, who had been pressuring him for 20 years to write his life story.
“It might have been too early,” he said yesterday.
“So, you never know. A second edition, maybe?”
His third option is no donkey either, with Allez Wonder at A$26 and a chance to give Cummings a grand slam to go with his Caulfield Cup (with Viewed) and Cox Plate already won this spring.
The horse punters believe most likely to put a fullstop on Cummings’ grand slam bid couldn’t come from a more different stable.
But a victory for the A$5.50 Alcopop would write a fairytale of its own.
In a racing world of multi-billionaire owners and massive syndicates, Alcopop keeps the bush battlers’ dream alive.
The South Australian gelding won on his race debut at Morphetville on Cup day last year and today is only his 11th start, with a rider on his first visit to Flemington, via racing’s extreme West Australian backblocks of Marble Bar and Port Hedland. “I’m living the dream,” jockey Dom Tourneur said during yesterday’s Cup parade through Melbourne’s CBD.
If Tourneur’s task is daunting, so too is trainer Jake Stephens’, whose three-year training career is embryonic compared to Cummings’ four decades of dominance.
The 32-year-old former architecture student hinted he was feeling the pressure, imposing a media ban on himself as he and Alcopop camped in Ballarat yesterday en route from Victor Harbor to Flemington.
But the crowd of more than 100,000 expected at Flemington won’t be witnessing just a battle between the iconic Cummings and novice Alcopop team.
Although punters followed Viewed and Alcopop well on Monday, New Zealand mare Daffodil was also heavily supported at yersterday’s Call of the Card, while prime minister Kevin Rudd’s tip Shocking moved from A$12 to A$10.
The punters are predicting the foreign raiders will miss out again, with Changingoftheguard the most fancied import at A$23 and Mourilyan, owned by Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, at A$26.
The fashionistas may be advised to pack a cardie for Flemington, with a cool and windy day forecast and a top of 20 degrees. – AAP