Serpentine, Saturday 16th September, Flemington, Race 2:
It was a close call between him and Kibou, and we also have some rapidly improving, unexposed horses stepping out, but the one that’s following the rules closest is Serpentine. First up, this was not the case but you will never catch me questioning Lloyd Williams who has won seven Melbourne Cups. Serpentine got to the trials a couple of weeks sooner than I would have expected, then had one 1200 metre trial eight days before running first up over 2400 metres. He was brilliant that day and ran second. While Lloyd conceded it to be an ‘adventurous plan’, it’s based on keeping the horse happy by running him over a suitable distance where he’s likely to find a comfortable rhythm which is imperative for older European stayers. I would think Serpentine exceeded everyone’s expectations first up, maybe with the exception of Gai who has always had unwavering confidence in him. With that run under his belt, the step up to 2500 metres and the expansive track at Flemington, I expect improvement, and improvement on his first up run must make him tough to beat here.