A talented and capacity list of twenty-four stayers has been confirmed to descend on Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday, following the official release of the 2016 Melbourne Cup field this afternoon.
Godolphin runner Hartnell has returned to racing in career-best form this season and remains a clear favourite to post his best ever result this week after being confirmed in the 2016 Melbourne Cup field.
Hartnell began his racing career under the guidance of prominent British trainer Mark Johnston, but has undoubtedly stepped up in class since arriving in the care of John O’Shea in early 2015.
Breaking through for a maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) in the autumn of 2015, the Authorized gelding was unable to returned to winning form until his second-up task this time; in which he delivered a smart field a resounding seven length defeat in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m).
Repeating the dose in each of the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), Hartnell ran second to champion mare Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) a week ago and should prove extremely tough to beat in the Melbourne Cup.
Jameka is another horse who has gone to another level through the 2016 Spring Carnival so far, and the multiple Group 1 winner will be given her first go at two miles on Tuesday after also being confirmed in the 2016 Melbourne Cup field.
Jameka stormed home to win the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at the conclusion of a smart 2015 campaign, but failed to return to winning form through autumn this year; finishing second in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) most notably.
Taking a couple of runs to find form upon resuming this time, Jameka undoubtedly stamped herself as a serious Cups contender when she easily beat a classy field in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) on September 17th.
Placed second to Hartnell in the Turnbull Stakes, the Myboycharlie mare mustered a career-best performance to win the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) by three lengths a fortnight ago and appears as though she will relish another step up in distance.
A strong international contingent will take their respective positions in the 2016 Melbourne Cup field, including Bondi Beach, Wicklow Brave and Exospheric.
One of four for Macedon Lodge in the Melbourne Cup field, Bondi Beach has performed well in some of Britain’s most prominent races this year and should relish the Flemington conditions on Tuesday.
Winning each of the Listed Martin Molony Stakes (2514m) and Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes (2816m) in April and May, Bondi Beach has so-far placed third in both the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes (2414m) and Group 3 Enterprise Stakes (2414m) since being back in work this time.
Wicklow Brave has contested jumps events through half of his racing career but is another horse that has featured prominently in some of Britain’s major staying tests this year.
Exospheric ran on for an impressive third in the Caulfield Cup in what was his first run in Australia a fortnight ago, and trainer Lee Freedman is confident that the horse will only improve on the big Flemington track and in a step up to two miles on Tuesday.
Almandin, Gallante and Assign completed the four-strong hand for Lloyd Williams in the Melbourne Cup field 2016.
Godolphin is another prominent operation that will launch a multi-pronged attack in the Melbourne Cup field; Hartnell joined by Charlie Appleby-trained stable mates Oceanographer and Qewy, and the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Secret Number and Beautiful Romance.
Chris Waller-trained stable mates Who Shot Thebarman and Grand Marshal have been confirmed in the Melbourne Cup field, while Gai Waterhouse has confirmed one starter; 2015 seventh placegetter Excess Knowledge.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2016 Melbourne Cup odds, for which Hartnell remains an outright favourite for success following the final field confirmation.
2016 Melbourne Cup Field
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||7x5x23x11x||BIG ORANGE (GB)||Michael Bell||Jamie Spencer||0||57kg||–||117|
|2||0x5501x586||OUR IVANHOWE (GER)||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Dwayne Dunn||0||57kg||–||116|
|3||x300x620x9||CURREN MIROTIC (JPN)||Osamu Hirata||Tommy Berry||0||56.5kg||–||116|
|4||1220x11x33||BONDI BEACH (IRE)||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore||0||56kg||–||116|
|5||1413×18353||EXOSPHERIC (GB)||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Damien Oliver||0||56kg||–||117|
|6||50x5x21112||HARTNELL (GB)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||0||56kg||–||123|
|7||0324×65272||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||0||56kg||–||115|
|8||3333×26431||WICKLOW BRAVE (GB)||William Mullins||Frankie Dettori||0||56kg||–||117|
|9||x9065x8084||ALMOONQITH (USA)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Michael Walker||0||54.5kg||–||112|
|10||069x031x27||GALLANTE (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Blake Shinn||0||54.5kg||–||114|
|11||8533×72691||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||Chris Waller||Ben Melham||0||54.5kg||–||115|
|12||5324×47121||JAMEKA||Ciaron Maher||Nicholas Hall||0||54.5kg||2.0kg||119|
|13||00x101x11x||HEARTBREAK CITY (FR)||Tony Martin||Joao Moreira||0||54kg||–||113|
|14||2x1322x210||SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD (IRE)||John P Thompson||Blake Spriggs||0||54kg||1.5kg||114|
|15||17x20x9834||EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (GB)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Vlad Duric||0||53.5kg||–||111|
|16||x6153x1553||BEAUTIFUL ROMANCE (GB)||Saeed Bin Suroor||Damian Lane||0||52.5kg||–||110|
|17||x221x66511||ALMANDIN (GER)||Robert Hickmott||Kerrin McEvoy||0||52kg||1.0kg||108|
|18||8x1153x921||ASSIGN (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Ms Katelyn Mallyon||0||52kg||1.0kg||104|
|19||32x1837x82||GREY LION (IRE)||Matt Cumani||Glen Boss||0||52kg||–||107|
|20||11x4017x31||OCEANOGRAPHER (GB)||Charlie Appleby||Chad Schofield||0||52kg||1.0kg||107|
|21||361x2x12x1||SECRET NUMBER (GB)||Saeed Bin Suroor||Stephen Baster||0||52kg||–||112|
|22||3254×06737||PENTATHLON (NZ)||John Wheeler||Mark Du Plessis||0||51.5kg||–||102|
|23||22x0Fx22x1||QEWY (IRE)||Charlie Appleby||Craig Williams||0||51.5kg||0.5kg||107|
|24||62102×0940||ROSE OF VIRGINIA (NZ)||Lee & Shannon Hope||Ben E Thompson (a)||0||51kg||–||100|