Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter revealed today that he believes the 2012 Melbourne Cup will have one of the strongest fields in the history of the race.
The final field will be finalised at 4.30pm this afternoon and Carpenter believes the quality of the horses that won’t make the field is a testament to how strong a race the Melbourne Cup has become.
“The real evidence of just how deep the race runs is that we have a situation that rarely occurs — that the Herbert Power Stakes winner (Shahwardi), Moonee Valley Cup winner (Vatuvei) and the Geelong Cup winner (Gatewood) at the moment are struggling to gain a spot,” Carpenter said.
“We will have a situation of both overseas and local horses of tremendous ability missing a start in the race. In my memory, we have never had so many class horses vying for so few positions.”
Leigh Jordon, who ‘scouts’ the European stayers for Racing Victoria, said that the connections of many horses that have missed out on qualifying for the field will feel hard done by but believes that is the consequence of aiming to qualify for such competitive race.
“I know some owners and trainers from both here and overseas will have their dreams shattered by not making the race, but when you have such a competitive field like this, someone has to miss out,” Jordon said.
Carpenter expects the international stayers to be tough to beat in the 2012 Melbourne Cup but nominated Ethiopia and Maluckyday as two Australian contenders he believes can go close to winning the race.
Carpenter dismissed criticism from two-time Melbourne Cup winning trainer Dermot Weld, who has Galileo’s Choice in the race this year, that Mount Athos had been handicapped to win the race.
“On what I saw in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes, I don’t think he’s the peach that the Europeans do,” Carpenter said.
Americain and Dunaden remain the favourites in Melbourne Cup betting markets while overnight there was a strong betting plunge on Green Moon.