RACING: After a long and frustrating string of failures, Frankie Dettori believes fate - and Almandin - are poised to finally deliver him Melbourne Cup success.
The globe-trotting Italian is yet to add Flemington's feature to a bulging collection of international Group 1 scalps, but Dettori insists he has never had a better chance of success.
"I've been there a few times with the potential favourite who might not have travelled well or pulled up lame," he told Sky Sports radio.
"I didn't have the best of luck in the race, a couple of seconds on outsiders.
"This time it's my real opportunity to perhaps break my taboo and what a chance with a friend of mine with Mr (Lloyd) Williams with one of the favourites for the race.
"I'm really excited to be honest with you."
Dettori beat a host of riders to secure the mount on Almandin when Damien Oliver was banned for 20 meetings for improper riding and then lost a subsequent appeal.
"I got the ride by special circumstances. Damien got suspended," Dettori said.
"Lloyd Williams, I know over two decades from the first time I came to Melbourne in '93, he took me under his wing and we became good friends.
"I rode Order Of St George for him in the Arc last year when I finished third.
"When I got the call, I was delighted for many reasons obviously.
"He's a horse with a chance, he won last year.
Dettori finished second two years ago on Max Dynamite but was suspended for a month and fined $20,000 for causing severe interference with a chaotic ride.
Last year he was bagged for giving Wicklow Brave a wide run in the Cup before tailing out to a distant 22nd.
"Somebody told me I've rode the Melbourne Cup 16 times," Dettori said.
"Unfortunately I haven't won so this is another chance.
"I've come close a couple of times so it will be a dream come true if I can put my name on this Cup.
"Almandin has won the Melbourne Cup so he doesn't need any introduction.
"He travels well and he stays the distance. Of course, he carries more weight this year but he's been there and done it. You can't really put too many negatives on the horse."
Dettori, 46, has endured a rollercoaster season in Europe.
A fractured shoulder sidelined Dettori for five weeks, forcing him out of Royal Ascot but he returned to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, notching a ninth Group 1 for the season.
Dettori will ride at the Breeders' Cup meeting in the US before arriving in Melbourne on Monday.
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