MONSTER Melbourne Cup favourite Vauban has already made his mark in Australia – after taking a massive chunk out of trainer David Casey.
Casey is deputising for Willie Mullins Down Under.
He has been looking after the Group-winning jumps and Flat runner ahead of his tilt at the 'race that stops a nation', for which he is 5-2 favourite.
Usually it's a bad sign if horses aren't eating up, but judging by this photo, posted by The Age journalist Damien Ratcliffe, Vauban is hungry for anything he can get his lips on.
Casey showed off the whopping bruise former Triumph Hurdle hero Vauban gave him after a nasty bite.
Biting can be a sign a horse is looking to play – but the horrific purple and orange bruising suggested this went beyond a bit of fun.
One punter joked the huge bruise was a 'massive love bite' but most were just in shock at the size and colour of it.
Punters have been piling into Vauban for months hoping he can win one of the richest prizes in racing.
Owner Rich Ricci will pocket £2.4million with victory, with the race off at 4am UK time on Tuesday.
And Paddy Power are reporting Vauban to be a six-figure loser in the book, with their traders predicting he will go off as short as 2-1.
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A recent piece of work by Vauban at Flemington left one rival trainer 'scared' for all the other hopefuls.
Mick Price, trainer of Lastotchka, watched Vauban make easy work of Ebor winner and stablemate Absurde.
He said: "There will be no horse that will do more work and he had a bit of a sweat coming back into the mounting yard, as you would, it was like SAS out there.
"I felt tired looking at it.
"Look, that is solid work and he dashed up. I don’t know what time it was.
"I haven’t got the right horse to be doing that with.
"Willie Mullins, good luck to him. I wish I could do that sort of work, but I’d be too scared to.
"It’s a 3200-metre (two mile) race and he will be the toughest, fittest, soundest horse in the race.
"There will be no horse that will do more lead-up work. He had a bit of sweat coming back into the mounting yard, as you would.
"He’ll be the fittest, soundest horse on the day and I’ve got a lot of respect for him."
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The Melbourne Cup draw will be made on Saturday, after which Casey said he will come up with tactics for the race.
Whatever happens, he said it's likely Vauban will go from the front like he did when winning at Royal Ascot.
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