Next Tuesday the 2014 Melbourne Cup field will line-up in Flemington Race 7 at 3:00pm (AEDT) and below we take a look at the likely 24 horses facing off in this year’s edition of the ‘race that stops a nation’.
There are still officially 38 stayers in the mix for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) and with all of the top 24 in the latest ballot set to accept, it comes down to whether any below them on the order of entry will sneak in post-Victoria Derby Day results.
There are two races at Flemington on Saturday offering a ballot exemption into the Melbourne Cup to the winner with the $300,000 Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) and $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) shaping up as two exciting showdowns.
The horses right on the cusp of a Melbourne Cup start then are #23 Araldo (53kg) for Michael Moroney and #24 Unchain My Heart (51.5kg) for the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig stable.
Araldo was third in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) in Sydney two back before a Caulfield Cup fifth, beaten only 1.4 lengths a fortnight ago, and is at $19 to not only make it into Tuesday’s field but win in an upset through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Unchain My Heart meanwhile is at the opposite end of Melbourne Cup betting at a $201 roughie’s price after the eight-year-old Al Maher mare ran second last in the Caulfield Cup crossing nine lengths away 17th.
Both these gallopers could be pushed out of a start in the ‘race that stops a nation’ if any below them wins one of the two aforementioned Derby Day races.
There’s a definite chance that could happen too with some top contenders running on the weekend including the Team Hawkes-trained La Amistad (26th) who is a three-quarter sister to triple Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva, Geelong Cup champ Caravan Rolls On (27th) and Signoff (36th) to name a few in the Lexus Stakes field.
Amralah, coming off back-to-back wins in Europe, meanwhile runs in the Mackinnon for Robert Hickmott and four-time Melbourne Cup winning owner Lloyd Williams and is 37th on the Melbourne Cup ballot.
At the opposite end of the Melbourne Cup order of entry is the Tomoyuki Umeda-trained Admire Rakti, the Japanese stayer to carry the number one saddlecloth with the 58.5kg top weight.
The Heart’s Cry seven-year-old is also leading futures Melbourne Cup odds at $4.80 after winning the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in his Australian debut on October 18 carrying 58kg.
On Saturday then he carries a minimum 1.5kg more than any other hope, the next heaviest weighted being a quartet on 57kg.
Hickmott, who won two years ago with Green Moon, saddles two of those including his 2012 Melbourne Cup winner on half a kilo less than last year when 21st pulling up lame last race after failing to defend his title and Fawkner.
Reset seven-year-old Fawkner is a top fancy in Melbourne Cup betting at $8, last year’s Caulfield Cup champ brave in defeat when only a long neck off the Irish-trained Adelaide in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) last Saturday at Moonee Valley.
The other two on 57kg in the Melbourne Cup weights are then Ed Dunlop’s dual runner-up Red Cadeaux back over from the UK for his fourth straight appearance in the world’s richest handicap and Cavalryman for Saeed Bin Suroor.
A $26 through Ladbrokes.com.au for this year’s Melbourne Cup, Godolphin’s Halling stallion Cavalryman ran 12th to Green Moon in the 2012 Melbourne Cup and was last seen running fourth to Pale Mimosa in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3299m) at York in August.
Hickmott and Williams meanwhile, while sweating on in-form European import Amralah’s Derby Day performance, will still have three confirmed Melbourne Cup starters with Sea Moon also assured of a run sitting seventh on the ballot with 56.5kg.
That’s the same weight allocated to the $7 second pick Protectionist, Andreas Wohler’s German stayer a fast finishing fourth in the Herbert Power Stakes on October 11 debuting down under on the back of a win in this year’s Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m).
Following on 56kg is then the Marco Botti-trained Seismos before two 55.5kg hopes in fellow international Royal Diamond for Johnny Murtagh who ran sixth to Brown Panther in the Iris St Leger in mid-September, and the Chris Waller-trained The Metropolitan winner Junoob who was far from disgraced when seventh in the Caulfield Cup.
Waller also has his proven two miler Who Shot Thebarman (55kg) while Murtagh is also dually represented with Mutual Regard (55kg) set to represent the former international jockey on the back of a Ebor Handicap win at York on August 23.
Other notable internationals confirmed for a shot at the title then include the John Gosden-trained 2012 Geelong Cup winner Gatewood (55kg), Godolphin’s Irish St Leger fourth placed veteran Willing Foe (55kg) and Andre Fabre’s Moonee Valley Cup third placegetter from Cox Plate Day Au Revoir (53.5kg).
As for the other top fancied local hope, $7 third pick Lucia Valentina (53kg) lost few admirers when third as the beaten favourite off a wide run in the Caulfield Cup and is well weighted for next week’s acid test.
The official 2014 Melbourne Cup field will be released after the racing action of Victoria Derby Day comes to a close on Saturday afternoon followed by the live barrier draw 7pm (AEDT) from Flemington Racecourse.
See below for the predicted Melbourne Cup field pre-Derby Day results, then head to Ladbrokes.com.au to back your favourites for the classic online at the best prices!
Current 2014 Melbourne Cup Field
Flemington Race 7 (3:00pm) – 04/11/2014
|1||ADMIRE RAKTI (JPN)||Tomoyuki Umeda||1||58.5kg||114|
|2||GREEN MOON (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||2||57kg||111|
|4||RED CADEAUX (GB)||Ed Dunlop||4||57kg||111|
|5||CAVALRYMAN (GB)||Saeed Bin Suroor||5||57kg||111|
|6||PROTECTIONIST (GER)||Andreas Wohler||6||56.5kg||110|
|7||SEA MOON (GB)||Robert Hickmott||7||56.5kg||105|
|8||MY AMBIVALENT (IRE)||Roger Varian||8||54.5kg||109|
|9||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||Kris Lees||9||53kg||110|
|10||SEISMOS (IRE)||Marco Botti||10||56kg||109|
|11||ROYAL DIAMOND (IRE)||Johnny Murtagh||11||55.5kg||108|
|12||JUNOOB (GB)||Chris Waller||12||55.5kg||108|
|13||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||13||55kg||107|
|14||MUTUAL REGARD (IRE)||Johnny Murtagh||14||55kg||107|
|15||GATEWOOD (GB)||John Gosden||15||55kg||107|
|16||WILLING FOE (USA)||Saeed Bin Suroor||16||55kg||107|
|17||PRECEDENCE (NZ)||Bart & James Cummings||17||54.5kg||104|
|18||BRAMBLES (NZ)||Peter G Moody||18||54kg||105|
|19||MR O’CEIRIN (NZ)||Ciaron Maher||19||54kg||103|
|20||OPINION (IRE)||Chris Waller||20||53.5kg||104|
|21||AU REVOIR (IRE)||Andre Fabre||21||53.5kg||103|
|22||LIDARI (FR)||Peter G Moody||22||53.5kg||105|
|23||ARALDO (GB)||Michael Moroney||23||53kg||100|
|24||UNCHAIN MY HEART||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||24||51.5kg||98|