An update from the Victorian Racing Club (VRC) this week has confirmed the Melbourne Cup 2015 field will feature no emergencies while this year’s The Bart Cummings winner will be exempt from ballot in the famous Flemington feature.
Run annually on the first Tuesday of November as Flemington Race 7, the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) is the richest handicap race in the world and features a capacity field of 24 runners.
Attracting talent from across the globe, the event has no room for emergencies and that will not change for at least another two years.
Racing Victoria (RV) put in a recent review of the potential for introducing emergencies to the Melbourne Cup field, but they and the VRC decided not to change the current policy.
A two year policy renewal will take place according to VRC chief executive Simon Love who added the option was not commercially viable for 2015.
The current Melbourne Cup field structure remains in place for a number of reasons, commercial and otherwise, including the pari-mutuel operators unable to currently accommodate for fields greater than 24 starters in Australia or internationally.
This year’s Melbourne Cup is scheduled for November 3 and in a notable change to the lead-up into the classic, the VRC has announced a new ballot exemption race for the two mile feature.
An automatic qualification for the winner of the $300,000 Group 3 Bart Cummings (2500m), held at Flemington on Turnbull Stakes Day a month before Melbourne Cup Day, now exists.
That gives horses a total of five races offering a guaranteed Melbourne Cup start with The Bart Cummings joining the Lexus Stakes, Mackinnon Stakes, Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate.
2015 Melbourne Cup Ballot Exempt Races
- $300,000 Group 3 Bart Cummings (2500m) – Flemington, October 4
- $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) – Caulfield, October 17
- $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) – Moonee Valley, October 24
- $300,000 Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) – Flemington, October 31
- $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) – Flemington, October 31
Run on October 4, The Bart Cummings takes place even before the official Melbourne Cup first acceptances are taken and has had a prize money increase from $150,000 to $300,000.
“Ballot exemption for The Bart Cummings will introduce another dimension of intrigue in the lead up to the race that stops a nation, and further enhance the quality of the Turnbull Stakes Day card,” a media statement from Love said.
“It now becomes a compelling pathway into the Emirates Melbourne Cup, adding certainty before first acceptances are taken, just as the Lexus Stakes on AAMI Victoria Derby Day offers the opportunity before final acceptances.”
Last year’s Bart Cummings winner was the Chris Waller-trained Who Shot Thebarman who subsequently ran third to the then German-trained Protectionist in the Melbourne Cup.
Futures Melbourne Cup betting is already open at Ladbrokes.com.au and led by Japanese stayer Fame Game ($15).
Other hopefuls high up the early all-in Melbourne Cup odds include Godolphin’s The BMW winner Hartnell ($17), Kiwi youngster who won the Australian Derby in April Mongolian Khan ($17), another John O’Shea-trained Group 1 winner Contributer ($21) and the defending Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist ($21).
See below for the current Top 20 chances for the Melbourne Cup 2015, betting provided by Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $500 bonus welcome bet offer this spring!