A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
Prominent thoroughbred owner Lloyd Williams has uncovered another genuine horse in his ever-expanding bid to take out the world’s richest handicap for a fourth time, the Robert Hickmott-trained Green Moon qualifying for the Melbourne Cup 2011 with a gritty win in the $185,000 Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) on Thursday.
Last night Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter released the first official 2011 Melbourne Cup Order of Entry, Green Moon still far from making the final cut despite moving into 72nd spot by passing the first ballot clause with their Newcastle win.
Green Moon held on in a thrilling photo finish in yesterday’s Newcastle Gold Cup to beat home the Anthony Cummings-trained Home On A Wing by a nose while Stephen Farley’s Gazza Guru was the same length away third.
Home On A Wing also passed the first elimination clause for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) with their narrow second in the Group 3 feature yesterday, the Hawk Wing five-year-old 75th on the order of entry.
Paying $51 in the latest at Luxbet, Green Moon is currently weighted at 50kg for the famous Flemington feature but is likely to be penalised for the Newcastle Gold Cup win.
Just one horse is currently exempt from 2011 Melbourne Cup ballot, the Mark Johnston-trained European raider Jukebox Jury who won the Irish St Leger in a dead heat with Duncan at The Curragh last weekend.
Connections of the Montjeu five-year-old have since confirmed they will make the trip down under for the first Tuesday of November, with Jukebox Jury firming into a $26 shot in the Melbourne Cup betting at Luxbet.
“The plan is to go to (Melbourne) as his owner is very keen,” Johnston’s wife Deidre said earlier this week.
The last horse to win the Irish St Leger – Melbourne Cup double in the same season was Dermot Weld-trained Vintage Crop in 1993.
Following Jukebox Jury the Top 5 Melbourne Cup order of entry reads as:
- #2 Americain (Alain de Royer Dupre) – Defending Melbourne Cup champ is the 58kg topweight, paying $19 through Luxbet to go back-to-back
- #3 Dangerous Midge (Brian Meeham) – 2010 Breeders Cup winner, the American galloper has 57.5kg and is a $51 outsider in the futures Melbourne Cup markets
- #4 Descarado (Gai Waterhosue) – Last year’s Caulfield Cup winner has 56kg and sits at $31 in the Melbourne Cup betting at Luxbet, yet to resume for the season
- #5 Lion Tamer (Murray Baker) – In-form Kiwi galloper won the Victoria Derby in Melbourne last spring, weighted at 54kg and is currently the equal $15 third favourite for the Melbourne Cup, runs in the Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield this Saturday
While all of these stayers are assured of a start in the Melbourne Cup final field of 24, there are many other big name contenders sitting further down the ballot with work to do before November.
There are also still 81 horses yet to pass the Melbourne Cup first elimination clause, most notably the Mark Kavanagh-trained December Draw.
Imported Medecis gelding December Draw has won three of their four starts in Australia since May, all three at the home of the Melbourne Cup, Flemington, and will look to become fully qualified this Saturday by winning the $125,000 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m).
The bookmakers are taking no chances with December Draw who is the $14 co-second elect in the Luxbet odds with Scarlett Lady.
Other Melbourne Cup fancies yet to qualify include the Peter Moody-trained mares King’s Rose and Lights Of Heaven, the second of which contests the Underwood Stakes this Saturday; and champion Australian hurdler Black And Bent.
Horses can pass the first elimination clause for the 2011 Melbourne Cup by:
- Placing a Group (flat) race over 2300 metres or above
- Finish in the top five in a Group 1 (flat) race over a minimum distance of 2300 metres, excludes 2YO & 3YO only races
- Become a Listed (flat) race winner over 2300m or further
- Finish within the Top 8 of the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on 15 October
- Finish in the Top 3 of either the $3 million Group 1 Tatts Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on 22 October or the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on 29 October
- Win the $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 2
Melbourne Cup 2011 First Order Of Entry Fast Facts:
- Latest horse to become fully qualified is Newcastle Gold Cup winner Green Moon
- Only horse exempt from Melbourne Cup ballot is Irish St Leger winner Jukebox Jury, out to become the first to do the double since Vintage Crop (1993)
- Top three horses in the ballot order are all overseas raiders with Jukebox Jury (IRELAND), Americain (FRANCE) and Dangerous Midge (USA)
- 81 horses are yet to pass the first elimination clause for the Melbourne Cup
There will be big changes to the order of entry for both the 2011 Caulfield and Melbourne Cups following this Saturday’s racing with updates to be published here at Races.com.au.
To get in on the futures Melbourne Cup betting and to back the Saturday race winners this weekend, head to Luxbet and sign up with Australia’s leading online bookmaker Luxbet, depositing and quoting the codeword BONUSBET and you will also get a bonus bet valued up to $400!
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