Early favourite for the iconic ‘race that stops a nation’ next Tuesday, Japanese stayer Fame Game was a big winner in Saturday afternoon’s 2015 Melbourne Cup barrier draw coming up with gate 12.
A capacity field of 24 face off in Flemington Race 7 at 3:00pm (AEST) on November 3 in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Heart’s Cry six-year-old Fame Game, a Zac Purton mount, will carry 57kg looking to join Delta Blues (2006) as the Japanese-trained winners of the world’s richest handicap.
Barrier 12 hasn’t produced a Melbourne Cup winner in over 30 years, but looks a lovely position for the current $3.80 favourite who debuted from barrier one to run sixth in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) last time out.
The other horse from Japan in the Melbourne Cup field this year is Hokko Brave ($26), a placegetter over the two miles back home in the famous Tenno Sho, who will jump out wide from barrier 20 that has produced two previous winners including Empire Rose (1988).
There are 11 internationals in the Melbourne Cup this spring and after Fame Game the next best in betting and only other single figure hope in the latest markets being the Ed Dunlop-trained Trip To Paris ($8.50).
Tommy Berry rides the English stayer who was brave in defeat on debut down under with a Caulfield Cup second, Dunlop’s well-fancied galloper jumping from barrier 14 that has produced an impressive six previous Melbourne Cup champions most recently Makybe Diva (2005) for her third a decade ago.
Dunlop also saddles-up veteran Red Cadeaux, the three-time Melbourne Cup runner-up looking to finally go one better drawn in gate eight on Tuesday.
The most successful Melbourne Cup barrier in history is gate 11, the latest champion from the gate being French raider Americain (2010), and this year the charmed barrier belongs to the Chris Waller-trained Preferment.
One of three in the Melbourne Cup line-up for Cox Plate winning trainer, Preferment won the Victoria Derby last spring and is out to emulate Efficient who was the last horse to win the VRC Derby and return a year later for a Melbourne Cup success in 2006 and 2007.
Waller’s two other runners are the Sydney Cup quinella of Grand Marshall and Who Shot Thebarman drawn in gates 15 and six respectively.
Who Shot Thebarman was a brave third placegetter in the race last year carrying 55kg from barrier 12 (of 22).
He is back for a second shot with half a kilo less (54.5kg) this year, Blake Shinn aboard from a gate that has produced five winners, but none since Light Fingers (1965) saluted from six 50 years ago.
Preferment is the $10 third pick for the win and is followed on the fourth line of betting by two equal $13 hopes Max Dynamite for Ireland’s William Mullins and the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Criterion.
Lonsdale Cup winner Max Dynamite carries 55kg from barrier two while last start Cox Plate runner-up Criterion drops from 59kg under WFA that run to 57.5kg on Tuesday jumping from barrier four.
Hayes & Dabernig also saddle-up last start Geelong Cup winner Almoonqith looking to complete the double achieved in recent years by Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011).
He jumps from barrier 10, which has produced six previous winners.
The only Melbourne Cup barrier yet to produce a winner is 18 and this year the hoodoo gate belongs to Bondi Beach, one of two in the race for Aidan O’Brien along with Kingfisher in barrier nine.
Other notable Melbourne Cup hopes and their barriers include German import Our Ivanhowe out in 22 for five-time winning trainer Lee Freedman, Sertorius in a favourable barrier five draw that has produced seven winners including Fiorente (2013), Gai Waterhouse’s Lexus Stakes winner Excess Knowledge with the outside barrier 24 to overcome and his stablemate The Offer who is horse 13 in barrier 13 with three-time Melbourne Cup winning hoop Damien Oliver in the saddle.
Check out the full Melbourne Cup 2015 field, barriers and latest Fixed Win odds in the table below prices courtesy of Ladbrokes.com.au who are giving away a Ford 4X4 Ranger to a lucky Melbourne Cup punter this spring!