The 2014 Melbourne Cup could feature horses trained by some of the biggest trainers in Europe after 29 European-trained horses were included in the nominations for the Group 1 event.
The Queen has not had a runner in the Melbourne Cup since Arabian Story finished sixth behind Might And Power in the 1997 edition of the race, but her star stayer Estimate has been included in the Melbourne Cup nominations.
Estimate tested positive to a banned substance after finishing a close second in the Group 1 Gold Cup (4023m) during the 2014 Royal Ascot Meeting and failed to fire in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3218m) before she returned to her best form in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3299m).
The Queen’s Racing Manager John Warren indicated after the race that Estimate remained a chance of making the trip to Australia for the Melbourne Cup and said that a decision would be made after consultation with The Queen and trainer Sir Michael Stoute – who also has Hillstar in the Melbourne Cup nomination.
Leading Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has not had a runner in the Melbourne since he was questioned about the tactics of his three runners in the 2008 edition of the race, but he has included Kingfisher in the nominations for this year’s race.
Kingfisher was placed behind stablemate Australia in the Group 1 Irish Derby (2414m) at Curragh on June 28 before he finished at the tail of field in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes (2092m) at York on August 20.
Godolphin are another leading stable that are yet to taste ultimate success in the Melbourne Cup and they are set to have two runners in this year’s race.
Cavalryman finished 12th behind Green Moon in the 2012 Melbourne Cup and will return to Australia for another tilt at the race and he will be joined by stablemate Willing Foe who finished second behind Seismos in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2670m).
One trainer that does know a thing or two about winning the Melbourne Cup is legendary Irish horseman Dermot Weld who played a key role in turning the Melbourne Cup into the staying championship of the world when he prepared Vintage Crop to win the 1993 edition of the race.
Weld won another Melbourne Cup almost a decade later with Media Puzzle and is a chance of returning to Australia for another tilt at the race with talented staying mare Pale Mimosa.
Pale Mimosa won the Listed Challenge Stakes (2816m) at Leopardstown on July 17 in impressive fashion before he defeated the likes of Estimate and Cavalryman in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3299m) at York on August 22.
Johnny Murtagh rode in the Melbourne Cup as a jockey and could have two runners as a trainer in the 2014 Melbourne Cup.
Veteran stayer Royal Diamond has been touted as a Melbourne Cup contender for a couple of years and is a chance of making the trip to Australia after he runs in the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2816m) at Curragh in August, while consistent handicapper Mutual Regard could make his debut at Group 1 level in ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Marco Botti finished third in the 2012 Melbourne Cup with Jakkalberry and is set to have a runner in the $6 million event for the third year in a row.
Dandino finished fifth behind Fiorente last year and will return to Australia for the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, while Botti also has Godolphin Stakes winner Renew and Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock-owned Seismos in the Melbourne Cup nominations.
Other European-trained horses that have been included in the 2014 Melbourne Cup entries are Ambivalent, Angel Gabrial, Au Revoir, Biographer, Café Society, Gatewood, Lucky Speed, Protectionist and Moment In Time.
The full table of 2014 Melbourne Cup nominations can be found here.