The Melbourne Cup 2014 field has suffered its first casualty with goliath owner Lloyd Williams down to just one chance at a fifth win in the two mile classic on Tuesday with Sea Moon officially scratched from the ‘race that stops a nation’.
A final field of 24 acceptors was announced for this year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), due to jump at 3pm (AEDT) as Flemington Race 7 tomorrow, but already that number is down with the Robert Hickmott-trained Sea Moon suffering from an elevated temperature of 38.5 degrees.
With a rise in a horse’s temperature usually associated with a pending illness, Racing Victoria stewards officially reported the horse would be scratched at 7:48am (AEDT), the horse also swelling in his back legs further indicating a virus.
Co-owner Nick Williams had said at Saturday’s Melbourne Cup barrier draw, where seven-year-old Sea Moon drew the only gate yet to produce a winner in 18, the team was finding it hard to have confidence in the triple figure roughie.
The Beat Hollow stallion won last year’s Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) before finishing 9.4 lengths away 13th behind the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente in the 2013 Melbourne Cup.
This year however his form had been disappointing including a dead last when fading in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18.
Sea Moon’s scratching was a major blow for jockey Tommy Berry who is now without a mount in the race, again.
Berry was booked to ride Waterhouse’s shot at back-to-back Melbourne Cup victories, The Offer, before he was pulled out of contention last week.
With Sea Moon out Williams and Hickmott will still saddle-up a livewire chance in last year’s Caulfield Cup Fawkner.
The in-form Reset seven-year-old won the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) two back before a second behind Aidan O’Brien’s Irish raider Adelaide in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) under weight-for-age conditions at Moonee Valley on October 25.
Drawn in barrier nine with Nicholas Hall to ride, Fawkner is one of five single figure hopes in the latest Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
While Sea Moon was paying $151 at the time of his scratching from the Melbourne Cup line-up, better performed stable mate Fawkner is at $9.50 to hand Macedon Lodge their first win in the world’s richest handicap since Green Moon triumphed in 2012.
With Sea Moon out, the Melbourne Cup barrier 18 hoodoo is now up to the Ciaron Maher-trained $201 roughie Mr O’Ceirin to break.
The full changes to the Melbourne Cup barrier draw are as follows:
- #17 Mr O’Ceirin – 19 into 18
- #15 Precedence – 20 into 19
- #16 Brambles – 21 into 20
- #10 Gatewood – 22 into 21
- #18 Au Revoir – 23 into 22
- #21 Araldo – 24 into 23
Caulfield Cup winner Admire Rakit remains the $5 favourite in the Melbourne Cup betting markets with Hong Kong-based Australian hoop Zac Purton to ride the Japanese raider and 58.5kg top weight from barrier eight.
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