The 2015 Melbourne Cup field has been confirmed and 24 of the best stayers in the world are set to contest the Group 1 event that will be held at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
Fame Game has been a clear favourite in Melbourne Cup betting markets since connections confirmed that he would make the trip to Australia for both the Melbourne Cup and the Caulfield Cup and he is set to start the $6 million event as a dominant favourite.
The Japanese stayer finished a fast-finishing second behind Gold Ship in the Group 1 Tenno Sho (3200m) in Japan earlier this year and her Melbourne Cup odds shortened dramatically with his fast-finishing sixth in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Mongolian Khan was ruled out of the Melbourne Cup last due to a colic attack, but the Caulfield Cup is still set to be the key form reference for ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Trip To Paris stormed home in the final stages to finish second behind Mongolian Khan in the Caulfield Cup and connections are confident that he will be even better suited to the step-up to 3200 metres in the Melbourne Cup after he took out the Group 1 Gold Cup (4000m) during the Royal Ascot Meeting earlier this.
Our Ivanhowe produced his best performance since arriving in Australia to finish third in the Caulfield Cup and he will back-up in the Melbourne Cup along with fellow Caulfield Cup runners like Japanese stayer Hokko Brave, Chris Waller-trained Who Shot Thebarman, Sydney Cup winner Grand Marshal and Australian Oaks winner Gust Of Wind.
Another race that is set to prove a key form reference to the 2015 Melbourne Cup is the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) – a race that has produced two of the past three winners in the form of Green Moon and Fiorente.
Criterion returned to Australian racing with a fast-finishing victory in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 10 and he was far from disgraced when second behind Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) last weekend.
There are question marks over the ability of Criterion to run out a strong 3200 metres in the Melbourne Cup, but co-trainer David Hayes said that he spent the English summer putting stamina into the legs of the Sebring entire and he does not believe the step-up in trip will be an issue.
Hartnell and Preferment were never able to factor into the finish of the Cox Plate, but there performances in the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship were better than they looked on paper and they both go into the Melbourne Cup as genuine winning chances.
Leading Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has not has a runner in the Melbourne Cup field since the controversial 2008 edition of the race, but he has included both Bondi Beach and Kingfisher in this year’s race.
Bondi Beach is set to have just his sixth race start in the 2015 Melbourne Cup, but he has stamped himself as one of the most promising stayers in the world by taking out the Group 3 Curragh Cup (2816m) on June 28 and finishing a close second in both the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes (2414m) and the Group 1 Ladbrokes St Leger Stakes (2937m) at Doncaster on September 12.
Another trainer with multiple runners in the 2015 Melbourne Cup field will be Gai Waterhouse, who won the race for the first time with Fiorente in 2013.
The Offer worked his way into Melbourne Cup contention with an strong staying performance in the Group 3 Bendigo Cup (2400m) last Wednesday and Excess Knowledge earnt the final place in the Melbourne Cup when he survived a protest to claim the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington this afternoon.
One of the most popular horses in the Melbourne Cup acceptances is veteran stayer Red Cadeaux, who is back for a fifth tilt at his favourite race.
Red Cadeaux made his Australian racing debut with an extremely close second behind Dunaden in the 2011 edition of the race and he went on to finish second again behind Fiorente in 2014 and Protectionist in 2015.
The nine-year-old will go into the Melbourne Cup without a lead-up run in Australia along with Lonsdale Cup winner Max Dynamite, Goodwood Cup winner Big Orange and Godolphin-owned Sky Hunter.
The Melbourne Cup field always features plenty of horses with winning form and that will be the case again in 2015.
Almoonqith produced one of the best performances of his racing career to date in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m), which earnt him a penalty that secured his place in the Melbourne Cup field, while The United States will go into the Melbourne Cup on the back of an impressive victory in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) on Cox Plate Day.
The notable absence from the Melbourne Cup acceptances was Amralah after the Macedon Lodge team of Lloyd Williams revealed this afternoon that he had received the wrong treatment from a veterinarian and would not be able to contest the $6 million event.
The 2015 Melbourne Cup field is rounded out by Darren Weir-trained Prince Of Penzance, English stayer Quest For More and Geelong-based Sertorius.
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2015 Melbourne Cup Field
|1||SNOW SKY (GB)||Sir Michael Stoute||58kg|
|2||CRITERION (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||57.5kg|
|3||FAME GAME (JPN)||Yoshitada Munakata||57kg|
|4||OUR IVANHOWE (GER)||Aidan O’Brien||56kg|
|5||BIG ORANGE (GB)||Michael Bell||55.5kg|
|6||HARTNELL (GB)||John O’Shea||56kg|
|7||HOKKO BRAVE (JPN)||Yasutoshi Matsunaga||55.5kg|
|8||MAX DYNAMITE (FR)||William Mullins||55kg|
|9||RED CADEAUX (GB)||Ed Dunlop||55kg|
|10||TRIP TO PARIS (IRE)||Ed Dunlop||55kg|
|11||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||54.5kg|
|12||SKY HUNTER (GB)||Saeed Bin Suroor||54kg|
|13||THE OFFER (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||54kg|
|14||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||Chris Waller||53.5kg|
|15||PREFERMENT (NZ)||Chris Waller||53.5kg|
|16||QUEST FOR MORE (IRE)||Roger Charlton||53.5kg|
|17||ALMOONQITH (USA)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||53kg|
|18||KINGFISHER (IRE)||Aidan O’Brien||53kg|
|19||PRINCE OF PENZANCE (NZ)||Darren Weir||53kg|
|20||BONDI BEACH||Aidan O’Brien||52.5kg|
|22||THE UNITED STATES||Robert Hickmott||52.5kg|
|23||EXCESS KNOWLEDGE||Gai Waterhouse||51kg|
|24||GUST OF WIND||John Sargent||51kg|