The 2014 Melbourne Cup field has been released and a strong field of 24 talented stayers are set to contest the Group 1 event at Flemington on Tuesday afternoon.
Signoff has been the best backed runner in 2014 Melbourne Cup betting markets over the past week and he is now on the fourth line of betting for the Group 1 event at Flemington following his impressive victory.
Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter has allocated Signoff a one kilogram Melbourne Cup penalty for his Lexus Stakes victory, but he will still carry the minimum weight of 51 kilograms.
David Hayes elected to withdraw Unchain My Heart from the Lexus Stakes field even though the veteran mare was not assured of a start in the Melbourne Cup, but the gamble paid off after Shoreham failed to finish in the placings in the Lexus Stakes and Lloyd Williams-owned Amralah did not finish in the placings in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes.
Unchain My Heart is the only horse in the 2014 Melbourne Cup field that has previously won over 3200 metres at Flemington after taking out the past two editions of the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (3200m).
The key form guide for the Melbourne Cup is set to be the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) that was run at Caulfield on October 18 and ten of the runners from the $3 million event will back-up in ‘the race that stops a nation’ on Tuesday.
Admire Rakti stamped himself as a clear favourite in Melbourne Cup betting markets after taking out the Caulfield Cup in impressive fashion, but history is against the Japanese stayer after he was awarded a half a kilogram penalty for his Caulfield Cup victory.
The Heart’s Cry entire will carry 58 and a half kilograms in the Melbourne Cup and no horse has carried that much weight to victory since Think Big took out the 1975 edition of the race.
Lucia Valentina stormed home late to finish third in the Caulfield Cup and the talented mare will have the chance to turn-the-tables on Admire Rakti in the Melbourne Cup.
The Savabeel mare will be stepping up to 3200 metres for the first time in her racing career, but her run in the Caulfield Cup suggests that she will get the trip and trainer Kris Lees said that the four-year-old gives him every impression that she will handle the rise in trip.
The Peter Moody-trained duo of Brambles and Lidari, imported stayer Araldo, The Metropolitan winner Junoob, Chris Waller-trained Who Shot Thebarman, Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock-owned Seismos, Unchain My Heart and Lloyd Williams-owned Sea Moon will also back-up in the Melbourne Cup after running in the Caulfield Cup.
No European-trained horse has won the Melbourne Cup without a lead-up run in Australia since Vintage Crop took out the 1993 edition of the race, but a number of horses will have the chance to replicate that feat in this year’s race.
Red Cadeaux and Cavalryman have previously run in the Melbourne Cup and are back for another tilt at the race, while Johnny Murtagh-trained pair Royal Diamond and Mutual Regard, talented mare My Ambivalent and Godolphin stayer Willing Foe will be making their Australian racing debuts in the race.
Gatewood missed out on a run in the 2012 Melbourne Cup after taking out the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m), but he is guaranteed a start in this year’s race after performing strongly in Europe this season.
One of the best-backed runners in 2014 Melbourne Cup betting markets over the past month is German stayer Protectionist, whose odds for ‘the race that stops a nation’ were slashed after he made his Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing fourth in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 11.
Protectionist won the Group 2 Hansa-Preis (2413m) and Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) before making the trip to Australia and he will be making his Group 1 debut in the Melbourne Cup.
Fawkner was narrowly denied by Adelaide in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25, but the Reset gelding will have the chance to return to winning form in the Melbourne Cup.
The consistent galloper ran in the Melbourne Cup last year and he was settled at the tail of the field by jockey Nick Hall in the early stages of the race before he stormed home late to finish sixth behind Fiorente.
One horse that is sure to receive plenty of sentimental support in the Melbourne Cup is Team Cummings-trained Precedence, who will be running in the race for the fourth time in his stellar racing career.
Precedence has missed the placings in his three race starts this preparation and would need to improve significantly to deliver trainer Bart Cummings a 13th Melbourne Cup win, but the Zabeel gelding is sure to run out the trip and has beaten more than half the field home in his three previous Melbourne Cup starts.
OTI Racing is set to have four runners in the 2014 Melbourne Cup field and their team is rounded out by imported galloper Au Revoir.
Au Revoir has not recorded a race win since he took out a race at Clairefontaine in France on August 24 last year, but he has form around some of the best horses in Europe and he was far from disgraced when making his Australian racing debut in the Group 3 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m).
Opinion will also be backing up from the Moonee Valley Cup in the Melbourne Cup, while the field is rounded out by Ciaron Maher-trained Mr O’Ceirin, who has not been seen at the races since he finished seventh in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) on October 12.
The 2014 Melbourne Cup barrier draw will be conducted at Flemington at 7 o’clock (AEDT) on Saturday evening.
|1||ADMIRE RAKTI (JPN)||Tomoyuki Umeda||Zac Purton||58.5kg||114|
|2||FAWKNER||Robert Hickmott||Nick Hall||57kg||115|
|3||RED CADEAUX (GB)||Ed Dunlop||Gerald Mosse||57kg||111|
|4||CAVALRYMAN (GB)||Saeed Bin Suroor||Craig Williams||57kg||111|
|5||PROTECTIONIST (GER)||Andreas Wohler||Ryan Moore||56.5kg||110|
|6||SEA MOON (GB)||Robert Hickmott||Tommy Berry||56.5kg||105|
|7||MY AMBIVALENT (IRE)||Roger Varian||Andrea Atzeni||54.5kg||109|
|8||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||Kris Lees||Kerrin McEvoy||53kg||110|
|9||SEISMOS (IRE)||Marco Botti||Craig Newitt||56kg||109|
|10||ROYAL DIAMOND (IRE)||Johnny Murtagh||Steven Arnold||55.5kg||108|
|11||JUNOOB (GB)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||55.5kg||108|
|12||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||55kg||107|
|13||MUTUAL REGARD (IRE)||Johnny Murtagh||Damien Oliver||55kg||107|
|14||GATEWOOD (GB)||John Gosden||William Buick||55kg||107|
|15||WILLING FOE (USA)||Saeed Bin Suroor||James McDonald||55kg||107|
|16||PRECEDENCE (NZ)||Bart & James Cummings||Michael Rodd||54.5kg||104|
|17||BRAMBLES (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||54kg||105|
|18||MR O’CEIRIN (NZ)||Ciaron Maher||–||54kg||103|
|19||OPINION (IRE)||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||53.5kg||104|
|20||AU REVOIR (IRE)||Andre Fabre||Glyn Schofield||53.5kg||103|
|21||LIDARI (FR)||Peter G Moody||Ben Melham||53.5kg||105|
|22||ARALDO (GB)||Michael Moroney||Dwayne Dunn||53kg||100|
|23||UNCHAIN MY HEART||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Dean Yendall||51.5kg||98|
|24||SIGNOFF||Darren Weir||Joao Moreira||51kg||97|