The second declarations for the $6 million Melbourne Cuphave been released today to reveal a field made up of predominantly international stayers.
Just four horses in the ballot order’s top 30 are Australian, while the other 26 originate from Europe, New Zealand, China and the United States.
Gai Waterhouse’s little known Older Than Time and Robert Hickmott’s Linton are the only local horses currently within the top 24.
Trainer Lee Freedman believes the lack of home-grown runners is due to our obsession with sprinters rather than stayers.
“With our focus on speed, we have backed ourselves into a corner and it will be extremely difficult for us to get out,” Freedman said.
“A few trainers and owners saw the writing on the wall a few years back and started buying overseas horses.
“It’s a real worry that our most famous race is one we have to import horses to be competitive in.”
Mark Johnston’s Jukebox Jury remains the top ballot, while last year’s winner Americain has ballot position two after his dominant win at Moonee Valley last weekend.
Bart Cummings’ German import Illo now sits safely at number 18 following his impressive third place behind Americain in the Moonee Valley Cup last start.
The most high profile withdrawal from the Melbourne Cup second declarations is Lion Tamer, who was sadly put down after breaking his hind during last Saturday’s Cox Plate.
There are presently 47 horses still in contention for a spot in the 24-horse race, with the final field due to be announced on Victoria Derby Day this Saturday.