There have been no major surprises in the first acceptances for the 2013 Melbourne Cup; with all of the leading hopefuls still in contention for the ‘race that stops a nation’.
The majority of the high profile non-acceptors were European-trained stayers whose connections had already confirmed that they would not be making the trip to Australia.
Veteran stayer Joshua Tree, Godolpin hopefuls Ahzeemah, Colour Vision and Songcraft, Johnny Murtagh-trained Royal Diamond, the lightly-raced Main Sequence and the Aidan O’Brien-trained trio of Ernest Hemingway, Leading Night and Foundry were all officially ruled out of the race.
The Queen-owned Carlton House and French import Bayrir were the most high profile locally-trained non-acceptors but their respective trainers Gai Waterhouse and Chris Waller ruled them out of contention over a fortnight ago.
Underwood Stakes winner It’s A Dundeel was included in the first acceptances but trainer Murray Baker has confirmed that the classy four-year-old is extremely unlikely to contest the race after he was sold to stand at Arrowfield Stud in the Hunter Valley next year.
Lloyd Williams-owned Seville and Mick Moroney-trained Araldo were both included in the first acceptances and have been awarded weight penalties by Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter for their respective victories this weekend.
Seville was awarded a 1kg weight penalty for his impressive win in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday and has now moved into the top 24 in the 2013 Melbourne Cup order of entry and is assured of gaining a start in the race.
Araldo was penalised half a kilogram but more importantly passed the ballot requirements for both the Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Melbourne Cup (3200m) after he was awarded the Listed The Bart Cummings (2520m) on protest from Sea Moon at Flemington on Saturday.
The High Chaparral entire will need to earn a further penalty or win a ballot-exempt lead-up race, like the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) on Victoria Derby Day, to be guaranteed a place in the Melbourne Cup field and is currently sitting 49th in the order of entry.
Fiorente ($6) is the new Melbourne Cup favourite, after his fast-finishing performance in the Group1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), from Hawkspur ($7), Puissance De Lune ($8) and Mount Athos ($11).