Wicklow Brave out to avoid European curse

Ireland’s leading Melbourne Cup contender Wicklow Brave was given some extra schooling in Australian barriers on Monday in a bid to avert the slow-starting ways that have cruelled the Europeans’ winning chances in the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate.

Having watched Scottish and Sir Isaac Newton’s chances vanish with tardy getaways in the Caulfield Cup and then French raider Vadamos stumble out of the gates in the Cox Plate before being urged to set a breakneck speed, Wicklow Brave was a surprise fixture in the barriers at Werribee.

Irish wizard Willie Mullins, who prepared Max Dynamite to run second in last year’s Melbourne Cup, will fly to Australia later in the week but his assistant David Casey was happy to familiarise former jumper Wicklow Brave with the gates before next Tuesday.

“He started off as a jumper and he wasn’t trained as a two-year-old so we’ve given him practice now,” Casey said. “The odd day he can be slow away and the fact he’s a jumper — and we don’t do a lot of it at home

“There is no harm to do it and we’ll use the facility that’s there. He was alright out of it so it was grand.”

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