A host of fancied European stayers will miss the 2012 Melbourne Cup when the final field is announced this afternoon.
Luca Cumani-trained duo Ibicenco and Gatewood both attempted to qualify for the final field by winning the Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington today but finished fourth and sixth respectively.
Gatewood received a lovely run during the race and had no excuses while Ibicenco ran into a wall of horses with 200 metres to run and was one of several hard luck stories coming out of the race.
Gatewood was well backed in Melbourne Cup betting markets after winning the Geelong Cup (2400m) last Wednesday but a penalty of 1kg wasn’t enough to move him into the top twenty-four in the order of entry.
Andre Fabre-trained Brigantin is being kept safe in Melbourne Cup betting markets but doesn’t appear likely to gain a start in the final field.
The Cozzene six-year-old ran well in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) but was slightly disappointing in the Geelong Cup.
Alain de Royer Dupre-trained Shahwardi is another European galloper that won’t be contesting the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
The stablemate of Americain was very impressive in the Herbert Power Stakes (2400m), circling the entire field to score by a length.
The Lando gelding is currently sitting twenty-ninth in the Melbourne Cup order of entry and unless there are a number of surprising withdrawals this afternoon will not gain a start in ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Connections of horses that miss out on the Melbourne Cup may choose to send them to the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) that will be run at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.
Racing Victoria is offering a $100,000 bonus to all Melbourne Cup eligible horses that contest the race.
Makybe Diva won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2002 before going on to win her first of three Melbourne Cups the next year.
Final acceptances for the Melbourne Cup will be taken at 4.30pm today.