82 talented stayers remain on contention for one of world racing’s most sought after prizes following the release of 2015 Melbourne Cup first acceptances this afternoon.
A strong international contingent remains in the hunt to take out the Race That Stops a Nation in 2015, arguably headlined by classy Japanese duo Fame Game and Hokko Brave.
Posting five wins and a further two minors through sixteen career starts so far, Fame Game returned this year for twelfth in the Group 2 American Jockey Club Cup (2200m) before delivering a notable field defeat in the Group 3 Diamond Stakes (3400m) on February 21st.
Undoubtedly producing a career-best effort to date when second behind Gold Ship in the Group 1 Tenno Sho (3200m) on May 3rd, the Heart’s Cry entire is sure to relish the two miles at Flemington and remains outright favourite in Melbourne Cup betting markets.
Hokko Brave has been a strong and consistent performer in his own right through 29 career starts so far and has also more than warranted his trip to Australia for the 2015 Melbourne Cup.
Returning to the paddock after placing fifth in the Group 2 Nippon Sho Stayers Stakes (3600m) in late 2014, the Marvelous Sunday entire returned for third in the Group 2 Nikkei Sho (2500m) on March 28th before boxing on for sixth in the Tenno Sho last time out.
The locally-trained contingent also remains a force to be reckoned with following the release of 2015 Melbourne Cup first acceptances, and is arguably lead by the Chris Waller-trained Preferment and Lee and Anthony Freedman-trained Our Ivanhowe.
Preferment stamped his claims as a serious staying prospect for Waller through the 2014 edition of the Spring Carnival, highlighted by a resounding success in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) in November, which interestingly figured as his maiden race win.
Continuing to produce sound efforts through autumn, the Zabeel entire clearly needed the run and more distance when 12th in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) first-up this time, but has fast found form in taking out each of the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) most recently.
Our Ivanhowe began his racing career aboard in Europe, but has fast adapted to this Australian conditions and has stamped himself as a serious Melbourne Cup chance.
Registering peak condition through his 2014 campaign, Our Ivanhowe won the Group 2 Gerling Preis (2413m) first-up; progressing to wins in each of the Group 1 Preis Von Baden (2413m) and Group 1 Pastorius Preis Von Bayern (2414m) most notably.
Having capped his campaign a credible sixth in the Group 1 Japan Cup (2400m), the Soldier Hollow entire was given a light debut to Australian racing in autumn; running seventh in the Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m) in South Australia before returning to the paddock.
Running ninth in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) first-up this time, Our Ivanhowe continued his impressive climb to form when second in the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2520m) over the weekend.
Middle distances specialists Happy Trails and Criterion also remain in contention following 2015 Melbourne Cup first acceptances, while Godolphin Australia have included five runners in Hartnell, Magic Hurricane, Complacent, Havana Cooler and Hauraki.
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