The field for the Group 1 $6.25 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday November 7 is staring to take shape with a host of horses and hoops confirmed for the ‘Race That Stops A Nation’.
Due to run as the famous Flemington Race 7 at 3:00pm (AEDT) on the second day of the coveted Melbourne Cup Carnival, there are a capacity twenty-four spots to fill in the world’s richest handicap.
On Monday Racing Victoria received thirty-six Melbourne Cup second acceptances.
Of the twenty-four horses currently sitting inside the safe zone in the Melbourne Cup order of entry, two are unlikely final acceptors when the official field is announced post-racing on Victoria Derby Day this Saturday.
Last year’s winning trainer Robert Hickmott has indicated Gallante (twentieth) won’t line-up in the race, while the Charlie Appleby-trained international Godolphin galloper Qewy (twenty-second) is also unlikely racing in Wednesday’s Group 3 $300,000 Bendigo Cup (2400m) instead.
That attrition rate sees the gallopers on the cusp of a start likely to get in including the Hugo Palmer-trained Wall Of Fire who jockey Craig Williams is set to ride.
Wall Of Fire is twenty-fourth on the latest ballot order, but there are a host of runners further down chasing the final spot in the Melbourne Cup field via a win in Saturday’s Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m).
Still, with Qewy and Gallante out, the British-trained Canford Cliffs stallion looks assured of a run and pays $11 through Ladbrokes.com.au following his first-up second in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) on October 14.
Shocking (2009) was the last Lexus Stakes winner to back-up and dominate the Melbourne Cup results next race.
Trainer Chris Waller has confirmed Melbourne Cup jockeys for his two runners Who Shot Thebarman and Libran who ran the quinella in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) on Cox Plate Day last weekend.
Looking to become the first nine-year-old Melbourne Cup winner in history, Who Shot Thebarman lines-up in the race for the fourth straight year following a third in 2014, eleventh in 2015 and fifth behind Almandin in 2016.
Hong Kong-based Tommy Berry partners the evergreen veteran and believes master trainer Waller has the old warhorse in peak form.
“He’s an old warrior that Chris Waller, like the master he is, has got him to peak at the right time,” Berry said.
“He’ll go into the Melbourne Cup as a last-start winner – something most of them won’t be able to say.”
Stablemate Libran has Dwayne Dunn coming aboard, the Lawman seven-year-old part-owned by VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott who has a Melbourne Cup runner in her first year in office.
Also with two runners in the Melbourne Cup field this season is Victorian trainer Darren Weir who took out the race in a shock upset two years ago with 100/1 winner Prince Of Penzance (2015).
Gutsy Cox Plate runner-up to Winx last weekend, Humidor has Blake Shinn riding with the hoop after his second victory following success of the late Bart Cummings’ Melbourne Cup champ Viewed (2008).
Weir also confirmed Dean Yendall as the rider on his lightweight mare Amelie’s Star who gets in on just 51kg.
Amelie’s Star won the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) two back, but was disappointing ridden closer to the pace in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) before dropping off for an eleventh.
Yendall will be instructed to ride Amelie’s Star as she is more accustomed by “taking a sit and working into the race” according to Weir.
Race favourite and defending champion Almandin meanwhile has Frankie Dettori aboard after the suspension of Damien Oliver.
International jokey Dettori has had fifteen previous Melbourne Cup rides going back to 1993 including two second placings aboard Max Dynamite (2015) and Central Park (1990).
The William Mullins-trained Max Dynamite is back for another shot this spring and is one of three horses in the likely Melbourne Cup field yet to have a jockey booked along with Bondi Beach and US Army Ranger.
Confirmed Melbourne Cup horses and jockeys for 2017: Boom Time (Corey Parish), Amelie’s Star (Dean Yendall), Hartnell (Damian Lane), Almandin (Frankie Dettori), Jon Snow (Stephen Baster), Humidor (Blake Shinn), Tiberian (Olivier Peslier), Rekindling (Corey Brown), Red Cardinal (Kerrin McEvoy), Marmelo (Hugh Bowman), Single Gaze (Kathy O’Hara), Johannes Vermeer (Ben Melham), Who Shot Thebarman (Tommy Berry), Ventura Storm (Regan Bayliss), Big Duke (Brenton Avdulla), Libran (Dwayne Dunn), Nakeeta (Glyn Schofield), Wall Of Fire (Craig Williams).