The 2017 Melbourne Cup first acceptances have been released and there are 55 horses left in contention for ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Almandin failed to fire in the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington last weekend, but he remains on track to defend his title in the Melbourne Cup and he was included in the third acceptances that were released this afternoon.
The imported stayer remains a clear favourite in the 2017 Melbourne Cup betting market with Ladbrokes and he is currently available at Melbourne Cup odds of $8.
The Macedon Lodge team of Lloyd Williams is set to have a typically strong and in the Melbourne Cup and he has also included Sir Isaac Newton, Bondi Beach, Gallante, Assign, Aloft, Foundry and Amralah in the first acceptances.
Another trainer that is set to have a strong hand in the 2017 Melbourne Cup is Darren Weir, who famously won the race with Prince Of Penzance back in 2015.
Amelie’s Star earnt ballot-exempt entry into the Melbourne Cup with her win in The Bart Cummings on Saturday and Weir also has Japanese stayer Admire Deus, Makybe Diva Stakes winner Humidor, imported galloper Big Duke, Gallic Chieftain, Kellstorm and Gailo Chop in the third acceptances.
Internationals have made up the majority of the Melbourne Cup field in recent years and that is set to be the case once again in 2017.
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appelby dominated the lead-up events to the Melbourne Cup last year and he has returned to Australia with a strong team that includes Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Francis Of Assisi, the tough Qewy and Australian debutant Kidmenever.
Melbourne Cup winning trainer Andreas Wohler has Red Cardinal in the Melbourne Cup first acceptances, while the Coolmore team in Ireland could be represented by Rekindling, Johannes Vermeer and US Army Ranger.
Willie Mullins has had a great deal of success in the Melbourne Cup without winning it – he finished second with Max Dynamite in 2015 – and he has included three horses in the Melbourne Cup first acceptances.
Max Dynamite and Wicklow Brave could return for another tilt at the Melbourne Cup, while Thomas Hobson has been included in the following his win in the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot earlier in the year.
Other notable horses in the 2017 Melbourne Cup first acceptances include Australian Derby winner Jon Snow, British stayer Marmelo, the veteran Who Shot Thebarman and Turnbull Stakes runner-up Ventura Storm.