Update: The 2014 Melbourne Cup field has been confirmed and there were no late surprises; with the 24 horses we touted as likely starters yesterday set to take their place in the $6 million race at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
Signoff was expected to win the Lexus Stakes and earn a place in the Melbourne Cup, which he did comfortably at Flemington this afternoon, while Unchain My Heart secured a start following the withdrawal of 2012 winner Green Moon due to a cracked heel.
The 2014 Melbourne Cup field has been all but decided, but the connections of Araldo and Unchain My Heart are still sweating on having their place in the Group 1 event at Flemington next Tuesday confirmed.
Araldo moved up to number 23 in the Melbourne Cup order of entry following the withdrawal of The Offer on Tuesday, but he could still be leapfrogged by the winner of the ballot-exempt Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) and Lloyd Williams-owned Amralah, who will qualify for a start in the Melbourne Cup if he is able to finish in the placings in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
Unchain My Heart currently sits at number 24 in the Melbourne Cup order of entry, but will need to win the Lexus Stakes to be assured of a start in the race or hope that More Than Sacred is able to win the Lexus Stakes and Amralah does not finish in the placings in the Mackinnon Stakes.
Caulfield Cup winner Admire Rakti sits comfortably on top of the Melbourne Cup order of entry and he will carry the top-weight of 58 and a half kilograms in ‘the race that stops a nation’ next Tuesday.
The Japanese stayer will carry one and a half kilograms more than any other horse in the Melbourne Cup field; with 2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon, Cox Plate runner-up Fawkner, veteran stayer Red Cadeaux and Godolphin stayer Cavalryman set to carry 57 kilograms.
German stayer Protectionist has been well-backed in 2014 Melbourne Cup betting markets and he will carry 56 and a half kilograms in the Group 1 event as will Lloyd Williams-owned Sea Moon, who finished at the tail of the field in the Caulfield Cup.
Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock-owned Seismos produced a dour performance in the Caulfield Cup, but connections are hoping that he will be better suited by 3200 metres when he carries 56 kilograms in the Melbourne Cup.
Johnny Murtagh-trained Royal Diamond and The Metropolitan winner Junoob will both carry 55 and a half kilograms in the Melbourne Cup, while New Zealand stayer Who Shot Thebarman, Ebor Handicap winner Mutual Regard, John Gosden-trained Gatewood and Godolphin stayer Gatewood have all been allocated 55 kilograms.
Team Cummings-trained Precedence missed out on a place in the 2013 Melbourne Cup field, but he is guaranteed a start in this year’s race and he will take his place in the field, despite being galloped on in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) last Saturday.
OTI Racing is guaranteed four runners in the Melbourne Cup field and European-based Gatewood will be joined by Caulfield Cup duo Lidari and Brambles, while Au Revoir will run in the race after he made his Australian racing debut in the Moonee Valley Cup last weekend.
Lucia Valentina currently sits at number eight in the Melbourne Cup order of entry, but she will carry only 53 kilograms after her fast-finishing third behind Admire Rakti in the Caulfield Cup.
Mr O’Ceirin has not recorded a race win for over a year and has failed to fire this preparation, but he has still gained a start in the Melbourne Cup, while the likely field is rounded out by Sydney Cup runner-up Opinion.
Update: Green Moon has been ruled out of the 2014 Melbourne Cup field due to a cracked hoof and his withdrawal now means that Araldo is assured of a start in the Group 1 event.
Veteran mare Unchain My Heart moves up to number 23 in the Melbourne Cup order of entry and has been subsequently scratched from the Lexus Stakes, but she could still miss out on a start in the race if Shoreham finishes second or third in the Lexus Stakes and Amralah finishes in the placings in the Mackinnon Stakes.
Signoff has been extremely well-backed in Lexus Stakes betting markets and looks the most likely winner of the ballot-exempt race, but there has been a sprinkling of support for Tony McEvoy-trained Big Memory, promising staying mare Let’s Make Adeal and Makybe Diva‘s three-quarters sister La Amistad.
Update: Signoff has secured a place in the Melbourne Cup field after he recorded a strong victory in the Lexus Stakes at Flemington this afternoon.
Shoreham was set a very difficult assignment by jockey Jim Cassidy and he tired badly, which means that Unchain My Heart will get a start in the Melbourne Cup as long as Lloyd Williams-owned Amralah does not finish in the placings in the Mackinnon Stakes.
The final 2014 Melbourne Cup field will be released at the conclusion of 2014 Victoria Derby Day before the barrier draw is conducted on Saturday evening.
|1||ADMIRE RAKTI (JPN)||Tomoyuki Umeda||1||58.5kg||114|
|4||RED CADEAUX (GB)||Ed Dunlop||4||57kg||111|
|5||CAVALRYMAN (GB)||Saeed Bin Suroor||5||57kg||111|
|6||PROTECTIONIST (GER)||Andreas Wohler||6||56.5kg||110|
|7||SEA MOON (GB)||Robert Hickmott||7||56.5kg||105|
|8||MY AMBIVALENT (IRE)||Roger Varian||8||54.5kg||109|
|9||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||Kris Lees||9||53kg||110|
|10||SEISMOS (IRE)||Marco Botti||10||56kg||109|
|11||ROYAL DIAMOND (IRE)||Johnny Murtagh||11||55.5kg||108|
|12||JUNOOB (GB)||Chris Waller||12||55.5kg||108|
|13||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||13||55kg||107|
|14||MUTUAL REGARD (IRE)||Johnny Murtagh||14||55kg||107|
|15||GATEWOOD (GB)||John Gosden||15||55kg||107|
|16||WILLING FOE (USA)||Saeed Bin Suroor||16||55kg||107|
|17||PRECEDENCE (NZ)||Bart & James Cummings||17||54.5kg||104|
|18||BRAMBLES (NZ)||Peter G Moody||18||54kg||105|
|19||MR O’CEIRIN (NZ)||Ciaron Maher||19||54kg||103|
|20||OPINION (IRE)||Chris Waller||20||53.5kg||104|
|21||AU REVOIR (IRE)||Andre Fabre||21||53.5kg||103|
|22||LIDARI (FR)||Peter G Moody||22||53.5kg||105|
|23||ARALDO (GB)||Michael Moroney||23||53kg||100|
|24||UNCHAIN MY HEART||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||24||51.5kg||98|