Ten-time Group 1 winning Kiwi mare Melody Belle...
The 2018 Melbourne Cup field has been released and 24 stayers are set to contest ‘The Race That Stops a nation’ at Flemington on Tuesday.
Yucatan has dominated Melbourne Cup discussion since he made his Australian racing debut with a dominant victory in the Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes and he is set to start the race as the shortest-priced favourite since Makybe Diva in 2005.
The Lloyd Williams-owned stayer is joined in the race by stablemate The Cliffsofmoher.
The Cliffsofmoher hit the line strongly when he finished fourth in his Australian racing debut in the Ladbrokes Stakes and he was not disgraced when he finished third behind Best Solution and Homesman in the Caulfield Cup.
No horse has won the Melbourne Cup and the Caulfield Cup in the same year since Ethereal in 2001 and Best Solution will have the chance to end that drought on Tuesday.
Best Solution went into the Caulfield Cup on the back of three straight wins in the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes, the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin and the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Baden in Germany.
Other horses set to back-up from the Caulfield Cup include Chris Waller-trained Youngstar, Moonee Valley Gold Cup winner Ventura Storm, Japanese galloper Chestnut Coat, German import Sound Check, Mike Moroney-trained Vengeur Masque and two-time Group 1 winner Ace High.
Another key lead-up race for the Melbourne Cup is the Ladbrokes Cox Plate and both Avilius and Rostropovich will back-up after chasing home the great mare Winx at The Valley.
Avilius earnt his place in the Melbourne Cup with his win in The Bart Cummings at Flemington and has been well-supported to deliver Godolphin their long awaited maiden Melbourne Cup victory.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling went into the Melbourne Cup without a lead-up run in Australia – the first horse to win the race with that campaign since Vintage Crop in 1993 – and there are of horses attempting to do the same in 2018.
Cross Counter and Magic Circle will both go into the Melbourne Cup without a lead-up run in Australia and they are currently $9 in the Ladbrokes Melbourne Cup betting market.
Cross Counter is prepared by Charlie Appleby and will be ridden by two-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy, while Magic Circle heads into the Melbourne Cup on the back of two dominant six lengths victories.
Other international horses that will go into the Melbourne Cup without a lead-up run in Australia include Ebor Handicap winner Muntahaa and last year’s beaten favourite Marmelo.
A Prince Of Arran has been the big market mover in Melbourne Cup betting with Ladbrokes over the past 24 hours and he has been $34 into $13 following his win in the Lexus Stakes at Flemington this afternoon.
No Lexus Stakes winner has gone on to win the Melbourne Cup since Shocking in 2009.
Another last start winner set to contest the Melbourne Cup is Runaway, who was able to edge his way into the final field with his tough win in the Geelong Cup.
Stephen Baster is likely to take up the running on Runaway and he should ensure that the race is run at a genuine tempo.
The 2018 Melbourne Cup field is rounded out by import Finche, veteran stayer Who Shot Thebarman, Australian Bloodstock-owned Red Cardinal, French import Auvray, international galloper Nakeeta and Sydney Cup placegetters Sir Charles Road and Zacada.
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