The 2015 Melbourne Cup first acceptances have been released and 82 stayers remain in contention for the $6 million event that will be held at Flemington on November 3.
The Melbourne Cup has been dominated by international horses in recent years and that is set to continue in 2015 after 15 overseas-trained horses were included in the first acceptances.
Japanese stayers Fame Game and Hokko Brave were the first international horses to arrive at the Werribee International Horse Centre and they both remain on track to contest the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17 and the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Japan won the Caulfield Cup last year when Admire Rakti flew home from the tail of the field, while the land of the rising sun quinelled the Melbourne Cup in 2006 with Delta Blues and Pop Rock.
A number of European-trained horses have also settled in at the Werribee International Horse Centre as they build towards the Melbourne Cup.
Red Cadeaux has finished second in the Melbourne Cup on three occasions and he is set to go around ‘in the race that stops a nation’ for the fifth year in a row, while he will be joined by stablemate Trip To Paris.
Red Cadeaux has not recorded a race win since he took out the 2012 edition of the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin on December 9, but he always produces his best form in Australia.
Trip To Paris stamped himself as a genuine Melbourne Cup contender when he took out the Group 1 Gold Cup (4023m) during the Royal Ascot Meeting and connections are hopeful that he will be suited by the firm conditions in Melbourne.
The Coolmore team of Aidan O’Brien is another stable that has multiple horses in the 2015 Melbourne Cup first acceptances and Order Of St George, Bondi Beach and Kingfisher are all set to arrive in Melbourne on Saturday.
Leading owner Lloyd Williams, who has won the Melbourne Cup on four occasions with Just A Dash, What A Nuisance, Efficient and Green Moon, purchased a share in all three stayers before O’Brien confirmed that the trio would be his first runners in the Melbourne Cup since 2008.
Other internationally-trained horses that have been included in the 2015 Melbourne Cup first acceptances are Big Orange, Elhaame, May Dynamite, Quest For More, Secret Number, Sky Hunter and Snow Sky.
Chris Waller-trained Preferment and staying mare Let’s Make Adeal secured a place in the 2015 Melbourne Cup field when they won the Turnbull Stakes and The Bart Cummings respectively at Flemington on Saturday and they are among a host of local horses that have been included in the Melbourne Cup first acceptances.
Cox Plate contenders Criterion and Happy Trails both remain in the Melbourne Cup entries and their connections remain open to the idea of stepping them up to 3200 metres for the first time in their racing careers.
Complacent, Dandino, Hartnell, Hauraki, Mongolian Khan, Our Ivanhowe, Prince Of Penzance, Protectionist, Rising Romance, Royal Descent, The United States and Who Shot Thebarman are among a host of other local horses that were included in the 2015 Melbourne Cup first acceptances.