The 2014 Melbourne Cup nominations have been released with 148 stayers in contention to run in ‘the race that stops a nation’ at Flemington on November 4.
The Melbourne Cup has been dominated by internationally-trained runners in the past five years and the 2014 edition of the race is set to feature a very strong presence from both Europe and Asia.
Godolphin have been regular visitors to Australia for the Melbourne Cup, without success, and the leading racing organization has included a couple of talented stayers in the nominations for the Group 1 event.
Cavalryman finished 12th behind Green Moon in the 2012 edition of the Melbourne Cup and he is set to return to Australia for another tilt at the race after performing impressively in Europe this season, while he is set to be joined in the race by stablemate Willing Foe who finished a close second behind Seismos in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2670m) at Newbury on August 16.
Popular stayer Red Cadeaux finished a slightly disappointing fourth in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes, but remains on track to return to Australia for a fourth tilt at the Melbourne Cup.
Red Cadeaux made his Melbourne Cup debut in 2011 when he was beaten by a pixel by Dunaden in the closest finish in Melbourne Cup history and finished a credible eighth behind Green Moon in 2012 before producing an extremely tough performance to finish second behind Fiorente last year.
One of the most exciting horses that has been included in the 2014 Melbourne Cup nominations is The Queen Of England-owned Estimate, who is a chance of becoming the Queen’s first runner in the Melbourne Cup since Arabian Story finished behind Might And Power in 1997.
Dandino is also set to return to Australia after finishing fifth last year and is one of three Marco Botti-trained stayers that have been included in the Melbourne Cup nominations, with Renew and Seismos also amongst the entries.
There has not been a Japanese runner in the Melbourne Cup since Tokai Trick finished 12th behind Americain in the 2010 edition of the race, but three Japanese stayer look set to make the trip to Australia for the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Admire Rakti is set to contest both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Melbourne Cup, with leading Hong Kong-based jockey Brett Prebble booked to ride, while Bande has been one of the best-backed runners in Melbourne Cup betting markets after he scored a dominant five lengths victory in the Listed Sapporo Nikkei on August 10.
Other notable international Melbourne Cup entries include Dermot Weld-trained Pale Mimosa, last start winner Protectionist, German stayer Lucky Speed and the Johnny Murtagh-trained duo of Mutual Regard and Royal Diamond.
Gai Waterhouse is chasing back-to-back wins in the Melbourne Cup and her leading stayer The Offer headlines the local chances heading towards the two mile staying test.
The Offer stamped himself as 2014 Melbourne Cup favourite with three straight victories during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, including a dominant four lengths romp in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) and Waterhouse has also included imported stayers Greatwood and Bonfire in the entries for ‘the race that stops a nation’.
The Macedon Lodge team of Lloyd Williams had a record breaking six runners in the 2013 Melbourne Cup field and the leading owner could have just as many runners in this year’s race after the likes of 2012 winner Green Moon, Fawkner, Sea Moon, Masked Marvel, Almandin, Foundry, Hartani and Nevis were all included in the nominations.
Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller has never won the Melbourne Cup, but has a big team of stayers heading towards the 2014 edition of the race.
Headlining the Waller charge is promising stayer Our Voodoo Prince while the likes of talented mare Royal Descent, imported stayer Opinion, Multilateral, Weary and Who Shot Thebarman are also a chance of contesting the $6 million event on the first Tuesday of November.
Legendary trainer Bart Cummings, who now trains in partnership with his grandson James Cummings, has won the Melbourne Cup on 12 occasions and will be hoping that veteran stayer Precedence, can deliver him a lucky 13th victory in his favourite race.
Other locally-trained runners that have been included in the 2014 Melbourne Cup nominations include Makybe Diva’s half-sister La Amistad, Crown Oaks winner Kirramosa, Kiwi mare Silent Achiever, popular grey Puissance De Lune and Kris Lees-trained Lucia Valentina.