Odds on the Japanese-trained Caulfield Cup winner Admire Rakti are set to firm following the 2014 Melbourne Cup barrier draw, the stallion coming up trumps with barrier eight for next Tuesday’s two mile classic.
Barriers for all 24 runners in the field for this year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) were allocated by Racing Victoria live from Flemington Racecourse following the Victoria Derby Day results on Saturday.
To wear the number one saddlecloth with Zac Purton in the saddle, the favourite Admire Rakti is now at $5 to win for Japan again after the success of stable mates Delta Blues and Pop Rock who ran the 2006 Melbourne Cup quinella in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Purton has had just the one previous Melbourne Cup ride back in 2009 but will be full of confidence aboard the favourite this year following the ideal barrier eight draw.
The Melbourne Cup favourite saluted last year with the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente winning at $6 when ridden by Damien Oliver from barrier five.
This year Oliver, whose other Melbourne Cup winners were the Dermot Weld-trained Media Puzzle (2001) and Doreimus (1995) for Lee Freedman, will shoot for a fourth victory aboard the Johnny Murtagh-trained Mutual Regard ($13).
Mutual Regard drew barrier 12, which you have to go back to 1949 to find the last winner from that gate, and gets in on 55kg.
The Hernando six-year-old was last seen winning the Ebor Handicap over 2800m at York on August 23 and is looking then to be the first international horse since Vintage Crop in 1993 to win the Melbourne Cup without a previous run in Australia.
Barrier eight for the favourite meanwhile last produced a Melbourne Cup winner back in 2008 when the ‘Cups King’ Bart Cummings celebrated his 12th and most recent victory in the time-honoured classic with the Blake Shinn-ridden Viewed.
That was the sixth time barrier eight has been successful since the introduction of gates, connections of the Tomoyuki Umeda-trained Admire Rakti hoping he can be the next.
The top fancy may have the right barrier but he’ll need all the luck and class with the 58.5kg top weight which hasn’t been carried to a Melbourne Cup success since another of Cummings’ winners – Think Big back in 1975.
This year Cummings, who now co-trains with his grandson James, is back for a 13th shot with Precedence who was balloted out of the race last spring.
Now a veteran nine-year-old, the Zabeel gelding is out to be the first of his age to win the Melbourne Cup after unplaced runs in 2012 (9th to Green Moon), 2011 (11th to Dunaden) and 2010 (8th to Americain).
Precedence jumps from barrier 20 this year with Michael Rodd in the saddle, a wide gate he’ll need all the luck from.
There are then four other single figure hopes in the updated Melbourne Cup betting markets, the $7 second favourite of which is German stayer Protectionist in barrier 11 for Ryan Moore.
Barrier 11 is the most successful Melbourne Cup gate since they were introduced back in the early 1920s, including four in the past 30 years.
Equal $7 second pick and the best fancied of the three mares in the field is then the Kris Lees-trained Lucia Valentina, drawn close to the inside with barrier two.
Barrier two last produced a winner in 1997 with the Jim Cassidy-ridden Might And Power.
The other best backed are then the Robert Hickmott-trained Cox Plate runner-up last start Fawkner in barrier nine and the Lexus Stakes winner Signoff ($8.50) with saddlecloth #24 and barrier 16.
Fawkner is a definite livewire chance for owner Lloyd Williams, barrier nine’s last winner being Efficient (2007), while the Darren Weir-trained Signoff showed his staying ability on Derby Day but will need luck from out wide.
Get behind your fancies for the Melbourne Cup online now at Ladbrokes.com.au and don’t forget to put your $1 wager on the first seven over the line to win $10 million in the Megafecta next Tuesday!