The dream for Bart Cummings to shoot for a baker’s dozen of Melbourne Cup winners has come to an end with the horse he co-trains with grandson James, Precedence, now set to miss out on a start in the 2013 edition next Tuesday.
With the 24-horse field for the iconic $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) due for release from 5:30pm (AEST) this afternoon, the attrition rate and who is in and out of the world’s richest handicap has been hot news this Victoria Derby Day.
One horse that had been sweating on the Derby Day results to see if they would sneak into the field was veteran Zabeel eight-year-old Precedence.
The last start Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) winner earned a one kilo penalty for the Melbourne Cup, giving them a total of just 53kg, pushing them to 29th on the order of entry.
They moved up one yesterday with the news Silent Achiever (19th) had been injured in their Caulfield Cup run, lacerations to her legs requiring stitches.
That and their elevated temperature on Friday morning saw trainer Roger James pull the pin on the Melbourne Cup bid for the 2012 New Zealand Derby winner.
However the glimmer of hope Cummings could be lining up his 88th Melbourne Cup starter went out after the connections of British raider Ruscello confirmed they would accept for the Cape Cross gelding after their Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) win this afternoon.
Previous equal 43rd on the order of entry and a $151 outsider in Melbourne Cup betting, the Ed Walker-trained stayer is now paying $26 to handle the short back-up and the 3200m in a few days’ time for an upset Melbourne Cup result.
That plus the fact there are not notable Melbourne Cup non-acceptors at this stage has likely pushed Precedence too far down the ballot to earn a start.
Still they remain in the markets just in case, the bookies taking zero chances paying $71 for them to win.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the latest on the Melbourne Cup field, including the barrier draw this afternoon live from Flemington Racecourse.
In the meantime check out the firmers and drifters in the Melbourne Cup odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au where you’ll get double the fixed win price on your favourite in the field from when the official 24 are out!