Cup legend Williams could aim for 10, Waterhouse believes

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Master trainer Gai Waterhouse believes that Lloyd Williams could go on and win several more Melbourne Cups, such is his understanding of Australian and international racing and what is required to win this country's greatest contest.

Waterhouse is no slouch when it comes to winning storied races herself, as her seven Golden Slippers testify and she too knows what is needed for Cup success having scored in 2013 with Fiorente.

But she says that Williams' unrivalled mastery of the Melbourne Cup means he could conceivably shoot for a total of 10 or more, rare territory indeed in a race in which trainer Bart Cummings, with 12 victories, set a record that no-one thought would ever be approached.

Twilight Payment's triumph on Tuesday was Williams' seventh in the Cup, with three of them coming in the last five runnings, the last two trained by Ireland's young master Joseph O'Brien.

He may now be 80 years of age, but as long as he stays fit and healthy and remains focussed on the race he is certain to remain as competitive as possible, Waterhouse says. Williams, as ever, watched the race from home.

"It is not through luck that he is so successful in the Cup. He thinks things through, he is very intelligent and he has studied what is required," Waterhouse says.

"He thinks about things in great depth and he talks to lots of people and absorbs information.

"He watches all the races here and overseas and analyses them thoroughly. He was ahead of his time in that. He's not afraid to spend the money to get the right horses.

"He also has a very good relationship with Aidan O'Brien and Joseph O'Brien and he has supported a very good young trainer."

Could he shoot for 10?

"While he is healthy and wants to he certainly can. He loves the Cups, he loves stayers and staying races and he concentrates on the Melbourne Cup, year after year.

"He is also very generous and helpful. When I won the Cup (with Fiorente in 2013, a year in which Williams had six of the 24 runners) he was like an assistant trainer for me, giving me all sorts of advice."

Williams' son Nick, whose enthusiasm for the race matches his father's, was magnanimous in victory and stressed his sadness at the fate of rival Anthony Van Dyck, the Aidan O'Brien-trained classic winner who was euthanised after suffering a fatal injury during the race.

"I just feel terrible for them … it's a shocking thing to happen any time."

He said Aidan O'Brien had called him after the race and he had offered his commiserations.

"I said there's nothing I would enjoy in racing more than winning the Melbourne Cup and the last two times we have done it we have beaten you and that doesn't really suit us at all. I would prefer they didn't run second to us. I feel a bit guilty given how much they put into our great industry."

He was also full of praise for Joseph O'Brien.

"He's an amazing young man … all he's ever known is growing up in Ballydoyle with Aidan, he's been around training horses effectively since he could walk," Williams said.

"He was a great jockey, he won 33 group 1 races and a whole bunch of classics before the weight got the better of him. He has got the world at his feet.

"The O'Brien family just live and breathe horse racing. Joseph is so committed, he has a big team. We were really confident going into day and he was really confident."

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