Just 72 horses remain in 2014 Melbourne Cup contention for November’s iconic handicap following the release of first acceptances by Racing Victoria.
Originally 148 stayers were nominated for this year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), the Flemington feature running on Tuesday November 4.
That has been reduced by 76 at first declaration stage today, numbers up on last year.
Also up is the number of international Melbourne Cup first acceptors.
There are 15 internationals still in the mix up on 2013 (12), 2012 (13) and 2011 (14) including Japanese duo Admire Rakti and Bande who are well fancied in futures Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Tomoyuki Umeda-trained Admire Rakti is the current 58kg top weight of the Melbourne Cup contenders while last start Sapporo Nikkei winner Bande is allocated 56.5kg for Yoshito Yahangi, both set to debut down under in the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18.
Other key international Melbourne Cup first acceptors include Ebor Handicap winner Mutual Regard for former ace jockey turned trainer Johnny Murtagh who is likely to go straight into the race without a trial, the Godolphin-owned Cavalryman and German stayer Protectionist.
Saeed Bin Suroor’s veteran nine-year-old Halling stallion Cavalryman won the Group 2 Goodwood Cup over the two miles (3200m) two back and was last seen running fourth to one time Melbourne Cup hope Pale Mimosa in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3300m) at York on August 22.
Protectionist also comes off a last start win, Andreas Wohler’s Monsun stallion having beaten home a good field in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) on August 24 – a race that has produced a number of key Melbourne Cup performers in recent years.
The horse dominating the futures Melbourne Cup odds meanwhile has been the Gai Waterhouse-trained The Offer who remains in contention.
Montjeu six-year-old The Offer is proven over the Melbourne Cup distance having blitzed his rivals by four lengths in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) during the autumn.
This time in he’s had three unplaced runs, the most recent of which was behind Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington last Saturday.
Beaten four lengths that day, The Offer still looks on track to return to the winners’ stall when stepped up in distance and so is being kept safe in Melbourne Cup betting by bookies around the country.
Waterhouse won her first Melbourne Cup trophy last spring with Fiorente and The Offer is one of just two still left in the mix for her to go back-to-back along with Bonfire.
A European import, Manduro gelding Bonfire has had three official starts down under the most recent of which was a third to Gris Caro in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 20.
Another Sydney trainer well represented in the current round of Melbourne Cup acceptances is Chris Waller.
Waller has paid up for five livewire Melbourne Cup chances led by Who Shot Thebarman.
Winner of the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) back in New Zealand, the Kiwi import has won back-to-back Flemington races this time in including the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2520m) last Saturday that earned the six-year-old a weight penalty for both the Caulfield Cup (1.5kg) on October 18 and the Melbourne Cup (0.5kg).
Waller’s other remaining hopes are then eight-year-old Brigantin, former Queensland Derby winner Hawkspur, last Saturday’s The Metropolitan winner Junoob and Opinion.
Runner-up to The Offer in the Sydney Cup during the autumn, progressive Oasis Dream gelding Opinion was also second when just a half length off stable mate Junoob in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) in Sydney last weekend in a fine effort.
Other key Melbourne Cup acceptances include Kris Lees’ Turnbull Stakes winning Savabeel mare Lucia Valentina and last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner for Robert Hickmott.
Hickmott and owner Lloyd Williams most recently won the Melbourne Cup in 2012 with Green Moon and Fawkner, last seen running second in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), is one of five for the stable still in contention this year as is Green Moon.
There were also a number of notable non-omissions at Melbourne Cup first acceptance stage today including New Zealand stayer Puccini, the Chris Waller-trained Epsom Handicap winner He’s Your Man, Café Society for Waterhouse and Spillway.
Melbourne Cup second declarations are due out on October 27, 2014.
For the updated Melbourne Cup odds head to Ladbrokes.com.au where first time depositing players will be rewarded with a bonus bet up to $500 matching their initial investment with use of the promo code SPRINGBONUS!
2014 Melbourne Cup First Acceptances
Flemington Race 7 – 04/11/2014
|1||ADMIRE RAKTI (JPN)||Tomoyuki Umeda||1.5|
|3||ALI VITAL (NZ)||Robbie Laing||86|
|4||AMRALAH (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||5|
|5||ANCIENT KING (IRE)||Peter G Moody||97|
|6||ARALDO (GB)||Michael Moroney||99|
|7||AU REVOIR (IRE)||Andre Fabre||6|
|8||BANDE (IRE)||Yoshito Yahagi||3|
|9||BIG MEMORY (FR)||Tony McEvoy||95|
|10||BLACK TYCOON||Darren Weir||103|
|11||BONFIRE (GB)||Gai Waterhouse||101|
|12||BRAMBLES (NZ)||Peter G Moody||105|
|13||BRIGANTIN (USA)||Chris Waller||8|
|14||CARAVAN ROLLS ON (GB)||Danny O’Brien||95|
|15||CAVALRYMAN (GB)||Saeed Bin Suroor||2.5|
|16||CELTIC PRINCE (NZ)||Bjorn Baker||8.5|
|17||CONTRIBUTER (IRE)||John O’Shea||6|
|18||DANDINO (GB)||Marco Botti||3|
|19||DON DOREMO (NZ)||Robbie Laing||67|
|23||GATEWOOD (GB)||John Gosden||4.5|
|24||GOLDONI (IRE)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||84|
|25||GREEN MOON (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||113|
|26||GRIS CARO (GB)||Jake Stephens||97|
|28||JUNOOB (GB)||Chris Waller||104|
|29||KHALID (GB)||Paul Perry||9.5|
|30||KIRRAMOSA (NZ)||John Sargent||3.5|
|31||LA AMISTAD||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||100|
|32||LE ROI (GER)||Tony McEvoy||99|
|33||LET’S MAKE ADEAL||Nigel Blackiston||99|
|34||LIDARI (FR)||Peter G Moody||103|
|35||LIKE A CAROUSEL||Ken Keys||75|
|36||LORD VAN PERCY (GB)||Andrew Balding||101|
|37||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||Kris Lees||3.5|
|38||MARKSMANSHIP (IRE)||Ciaron Maher||96|
|39||MASKED MARVEL (GB)||Robert Hickmott||100|
|40||MORE THAN SACRED||Robert Smerdon||95|
|41||MR O’CEIRIN (NZ)||Ciaron Maher||104|
|42||MUTUAL REGARD (IRE)||Johnny Murtagh||4.5|
|43||MY AMBIVALENT (IRE)||Roger Varian||3.5|
|44||NOBLE PROTECTOR (GB)||Robert Smerdon||95|
|45||OMINOUS (GB)||Nigel Blackiston||90|
|46||OPINION (IRE)||Chris Waller||6|
|47||PINSTRIPE LANE (NZ)||Leon & Troy Corstens||92|
|48||PRECEDENCE (NZ)||Bart & James Cummings||106|
|49||PRETTY BLONDE||Kym Healy||84|
|50||PRINCE OF PENZANCE (NZ)||Darren Weir||95|
|51||PROTECTIONIST (GER)||Andreas Wohler||110|
|52||QUAYSIDE||Peter G Moody||77|
|53||RED CADEAUX (GB)||Ed Dunlop||2.5|
|54||RENEW (IRE)||Marco Botti||89|
|55||ROYAL DIAMOND (IRE)||Johnny Murtagh||4|
|56||SANGSTER (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||105|
|57||SEA MOON (GB)||Robert Hickmott||110|
|58||SEISMOS (IRE)||Marco Botti||3.5|
|59||SERTORIUS||Jamie Edwards & Bruce Elkington||105|
|61||SIGNOFF (IRE)||Darren Weir||92|
|62||SILENT ACHIEVER (NZ)||Roger James||116|
|63||SLOW PACE (USA)||Kris Lees||103|
|64||STIPULATE (GB)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||104|
|65||THE OFFER (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||110|
|66||THUNDERBIRD ONE (NZ)||Francis Finnegan||91|
|67||UNCHAIN MY HEART||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||98|
|68||WALTZING TO WIN||David Huxtable||9.5|
|69||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||105|
|70||WILLING FOE (USA)||Saeed Bin Suroor||4.5|
|71||WISH COME TRUE (IRE)||Peter G Moody||9|