French stayers Dunaden and Americain remain at the top of the list after forty-six horses were left in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) to be run at Flemington on November 6 after second acceptances today.
Final acceptances to determine the twenty-four horse field for the Melbourne Cup will be held on Saturday at 4.30pm Victorian time following the huge Derby Day meeting at Flemington.
As expected, the Peter Moody trained Manighar, and the Lloyd Williams owned Seville and Midas Touch were absent from the second acceptances leaving overseas horses Lost in The Moment, Brigantin, Shahwardi and Gatewood still not certain of gaining a start.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden has been elevated to a clear topweight with 59kg after being given a 1kg penalty for winning the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20 while 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain will have to carry 58kg.
Herbert Power Stakes winner Shahwardi received a 1.5kg penalty for winning the Group 2 2400m Handicap at Caulfield but is still at number twenty-nine in order of entry and will need several horses above him to pull out before Saturday.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy rode the Alain de Royer Dupre gelding in the Herbet Power and was impressed with the seven-year-old’s last to first winning effort looking towards the Melbourne Cup.
“There was a bit of action early, a bit of pace, that was the plan just to ride to be last off the bridle, he enjoyed it. He travelled over here great, travelled sweetly during the run,” McEvoy said after the Caulfield win.
“If he stays two mile he is going to be chance in the Melbourne Cup I think anyway.”
The John Gosden trained Gatewood has been nominated for the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and the Group 3 $250,000 The Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday and a win in either will excluded the five year old from the Melbourne Cup ballot and leapfrog him into the next Tuesday’s field.
Gatewood is still lingering at thirty-three in the order of entry even after receiving a 1kg penalty for winning the Group 3 $300,000 Centrebet Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong on October 24.
Winning jockey Glen Boss was full of praise for the English stayer after a strong win in the Geelong Cup.
“He’s very good on his feet this horse. He’s very nimble. That’s going to take him a long way because you need that type of horse in our hustle-bustle races,” Boss said following the win.
“He sprinted very quickly then there was a moment there where he just plateaued for about 100 metres.
“Then about 200 metres from the line he just got going again and ran through the line.”
Americain has shot to a clear favourite for the Melbourne Cup after second acceptances with the booking of Damien Oliver to partner the 2010 winner influencing punters who have backed the French stayer into $6.50 with Caulfield Cup winner Dunaden, to be ridden by Craig Williams at $7.