Yesterday saw the field of entries for the major Victorian Spring Carnival races reduced. Third declarations were taken for the $2.55 million Caulfield Cup on Saturday week and the Cox Plate on October 24. The nation’s favourite feature race, the $5.65 million Melbourne Cup on Tuesday November 3, also saw contenders cut as second declarations were announced.
The Melbourne Cup still boasts a strong international flavour at this stage of the declarations, with eight overseas entries holding on to their Melbourne Cup dreams. Foreign runners arriving in Australia on Saturday are Changingoftheguard, Mourilyan, Munsef and Warringah. While Kirklees, Crime Scene, Cima De Triomphe and Basaltico are currently in quarantine in Sandown. There will be no Irish raiders this year as one of the ante-post favourites Profound Beauty was withdrawn from the Melbourne Cup by her owners Moyglare Stud.
A total of 85 horses make up the second stage acceptors for the world’s richest handicap, the same number of entries at this stage last year.
Metropolitan Handicap winner Speed Gifted is sitting as the favourite for the Caulfield Cup at $5 as the imported galloper was lifted to equal 19th in the order of nominations. With the Caulfield Cup field restricted to 18 runners, Speed Gifted is almost a sure thing. 38 horses were dropped yesterday with only 44 still in contention, six more than this stage last year.
Cox Plate favourite Whobegotyou was not part of the third acceptors for the Caulfield Cup, and also out of the race are Unsung Heroine, Maco?Reilly, Zarita and Jungle Rocket. Second favourite for the race, who is still in the running, is Predatory Pricer at $7.
Final declarations for the Caulfield Cup will be received next Tuesday. This Saturday’s running of the Yalumba Stakes, Toorak Handicap and Herbert Power Stakes will see the winners exempt from ballot for the race, which could shake up the betting markets and the field.
There are 39 horses remaining in the Cox Plate, with Whobegotyou topping the betting markets at $4 tailed by Maldivian and Predatory Pricer at $7.50.