Murray Baker’s Caulfield Cup winning Kiwi raider Mongolian Khan sits number one on the ballot for the world’s richest handicap at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 3 following the release of the 2015 Melbourne Cup second acceptances.
On Monday morning Racing Victoria released 42 second declarations for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), the final field out on Saturday afternoon following the Victoria Derby Day racing action.
Holy Roman Emperor four-year-old Mongolian Khan earned his shot at the ‘race that stops a nation’ after a stellar half-length victory in the Group 3 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17.
Twelve stayers have completed the coveted Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup double, the latest being Ethereal (2001) who was also the last New Zealand-trained Melbourne Cup winner.
Mongolian Khan third favourite at $8 in the futures Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on the full Flemington race card this Saturday, and the horse will be looking to become the first four-year-old to win since Shocking (2009).
He will carry 56kg after a 1kg penalty for the Caulfield Cup victory.
Other notable four-year-olds in the mix include the Chris Waller-trained Preferment and Aidan O’Brien’s Irish raider Bondi Beach who is fifth on the Melbourne Cup order of entry.
Waller won the Cox Plate over the weekend with his superstar mare Winx and has a total of four Melbourne Cup second acceptors as he looks to continue his magic run.
Preferment is the highest rated sitting 10th on the ballot, the recent Turnbull Stakes winner at Flemington crossing over 12 lengths off his stablemate when ninth in the Cox Plate.
Other possible Melbourne Cup contenders for Sydney’s ace trainer are Kiwi expat Who Shot The Barman (10th) who has a good 3200m record (4-1-1-1), his Sydney Cup winner over the distance Grand Marshall (18th) and recent The Metropolitan runner-up Beaten Up (24th) who is right on the cusp of a start in the capacity 24-starter field.
Bondi Beach meanwhile is a Lloyd Williams-owned, internationally-trained Galileo stallion who was last seen running second in the Group 1 Doncaster St Leger (2917m) in September and who is of 11 international raiders inside the top 24.
O’Brien trained last year’s Cox Plate winner Adelaide and trained third past the post in the weight-for-age classic behind Winx this year with Highland Reel.
Along with Bondi Beach he also prepares the fellow Williams-owned Kingfisher (21st) for this year’s Melbourne Cup.
Williams has won a total of four Melbourne Cup winners with: Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2012) and Green Moon (2012).
Green Moon was trained by Robert Hickmott who prepares three Melbourne Cup second acceptors this spring including Herbert Power Stakes winner Amralah (20th) and The United States (26th) who received a 2.5kg penalty for his Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup win on Cox Plate Day.
Leading the all-in Melbourne Cup betting markets at $4 is Japan’s Fame Game, sixth to Mongolian Khan in his Australian race debut.
Japan took out the Melbourne Cup quinella in 2006 with Delta Blues and Pop Rock, Fame Game out to be the first Japanese-trained winner since.
The only other single figure fancy in the latest markets is Trip To Paris prepared by Ed Dunlop who trained Red Cadeaux for three Melbourne Cup seconds including behind Protectionist 12 months ago.
Trip To Paris ran second in the Caulfield Cup and has winning form up to 4023m having won the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup over Kingfisher back in June.
Leading the Melbourne Cup weights with 58kg, a weight last carried to victory by Makybe Diva for her third in 2005, is the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Snow Sky who ran fifth in the Caulfield Cup.
The Nayef stallion is sole top weight following the withdrawal of last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist.
Other notable withdrawals include the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Rising Romance, John O’Shea’s Hauraki, last year’s Crown Oaks winner Set Square, Gallante and Magicool.
Two races running at Flemington this Saturday offer a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption to the winner with the Lexus Stakes and Mackinnon Stakes run over 2500m and 2000m respectively on Derby Day.
Back your early Melbourne Cup selections before the final field is out on Saturday online now at Ladbrokes.com.au by following the links below to the futures markets for the two mile classic!