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Irish will have learned plenty from Cup trip

There was no joy Down Under when the Irish went to Flemington to try and beat the Aussies in their own back yard but as the adage goes 'nothing ventured, nothing gained' and both sets of connections will have learned a lot from the experience.

Johnny Murtagh (below) would have went to bed last Monday dreaming of winning the Melbourne Cup and his owner of both Mutual Regard and Royal Diamond, Andrew Tinkler, was pretty bullish himself.

They had left no stone unturned in their preparation and even went as far as to secure Mr Flemington himself Damien Oliver to ride leading hope Mutual Regard.

Much was spoke about the Australian style of racing and therefore having Oliver was a big plus, the problem was that with My Ambivalent setting a blistering pace the race turned into more of a European style and that seemed to catch Oliver out as he struggled to settle Mutual Regard.

The most frustrating thing for Murtagh the trainer must be that he is fully aware of how good Murtagh the jockey was and last Tuesday was a stage made for him.

In time, training will be his only thought but immediately after last Tuesday's race he must have wondered 'what if I'd been riding him?'

Of course, Protectionist was a facile winner that Mutual Regard would have struggled to beat in any circumstances but you just feel if the Ebor winner had not only been trained by Murtagh the trainer, but also ridden by Murtagh the jockey, he may have finished a fair bit closer.

It may be just a handicap but if you've ever wondered just how big a race the Melbourne Cup actually is there was plenty of evidence last week.

For those in Melbourne there was the billboards, the parade ad the general coverage in the media but for those watching from a far there was the reaction of winning jockey Ryan Moore.

Undoubtedly the best rider in the world at the moment, Moore is often expressionless after winning major races but his post race grinning and flowing chat with the media afterwards was evidence at the joy of winning one of the worlds greatest prizes.

And of course, we can't go without mentioning Slade Power. It was clear to most (some Aussie journalists aside) that Europe's leading sprinter didn't run his race on Saturday morning and soon afterwards injury was determined as the reason.

The Powers and the Lynams are on a enthralling rollercoaster with their string which is set to continue to Hong Kong for Sole Power next but it's such a huge shame for them that they'll never know just how a sound Slade would have faired against the Aussies.

It was lovely that they managed to be as gracious in defeat as they have so often been in victory however and that says a lot about any man, women or child.