The final field for Tuesday’s 2014 Melbourne Cup is all but confirmed following the running of both the Lexus Stakes (2500m) and Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington this afternoon.
Beginning that day in ballot position 36; 12 places outside the Melbourne Cup final field, Signoff secured a position in the Race That Stops a Nation’s final field when displaying a keen turn of foot to take out the Group 3 Lexus Stakes with relative ease.
Jumping from the gates well, leading Hong Kong-based jockey Joao Moreira settled Signoff in prime position on the heels of the race’s early leaders, finding the final straight with a clear racing line and extending to the line in impressive fashion.
Understandably thrilled to have secured a Melbourne Cup berth with Signoff having been forced to remove early favourite Puissance De Lune from contention in 2013, trainer Darren Weir is confident the strong Lexus Stakes performance will figure as the ideal tune-up for the four-year-old, who is now perched second in 2014 Melbourne Cup ballot order in taking out the ballot-exempt race.
Gaining a 1kg penalty for winning the Lexus Stakes, Signoff will carry a total of 51kgs in the Melbourne Cup.
With the remainder of the Lexus Stakes field also requiring victory to progress to the Spring Carnival’s feature race, the likes of Shoreham, La Amistad, Big Memory and Geelong Cup winner Caravan Rolls On have all missed the cut, as has British raider Lord Van Percy; ruled out of the Lexus Stakes and Melbourne Cup as a result this morning with a lame off-fore leg.
Following results of the Lexus Stakes, Amralah figured as the only other runner capable of earning a position in the 2014 Melbourne Cup final field but was required to finish in the top three of the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes.
Lining up against a particularly classy field, jockey Chad Schofield settled the Teofilo entire in prime position on the heels of early leaders Mourinho and confirmed Melbourne Cup runner Brambles, but was unable to match it in the final straight and faded to finish last; ending all chances of Melbourne Cup progression.
With 2012 winner Green Moon also scratched from the Melbourne Cup this morning with a cracked hoof, Amralah’s stable Macedon Lodge are now set to saddle just two runners in the Race That Stops a Nation; leading contender and Cox Plate runner-up Fawkner, and long-odds hopeful Sea Moon; both guaranteed a start in registering in positions three and seven in the Melbourne Cup ballot order respectively.
Talented Japanese raider and Caulfield Cup champion Admire Rakti will enter the Melbourne Cup in position 1, while nine-year-old mare Unchain My Heart looks to have wrapped up the final Melbourne Cup berth in position 24.
With final acceptances for the 2014 Melbourne Cup now closed, the likely field of 24 for Tuesday’s Flemington Race 7 is outlined below.
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Most Likely 2014 Melbourne Cup Final Field
|1||ADMIRE RAKTI (JPN)||Tomoyuki Umeda||1||58.5kg||0.5kg||114|
|2||SIGNOFF (IRE)||Darren Weir||2||51kg||1.0kg||100|
|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||1.5kg||108|
|13||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||13||55kg||0.5kg||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|