Past winners Dunaden (2011) and Green Moon (2012) are among 135 horses that have been nominated for the 2013 Melbourne Cup (3200m) that will be run at Flemington on November 5.
While Green Moon was a certainty to be included in the 2013 Melbourne Cup nominations, the inclusion of Dunaden is a minor surprise as connections announced earlier in the year that the 2012 Caulfield Cup winner was unlikely to return to Australia for a third straight tilt at ‘the race that stops a nation’.
The original plan was for Dunaden to be retired after competing in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France but the Melbourne Cup is back on the agenda, with connections set to make a decision on the seven-year-olds future after he runs in France on September 15.
Dunaden was one of twenty-eight internationally trained horses nominated for the 2013 Melbourne Cup – a slight rise from the twenty-three international gallopers that were included in the original nominations last year.
Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos and 2011 Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux are set to return for another crack at the famous race while French stayer Verema, Michael Owen-owned Brown Panther, Johnny Murtagh-trained Royal Diamond, Saval Beg Stakes winner Pale Mimosa and Australian-owned Dandino are all a chance to make their Melbourne Cup debuts.
The Godolphin stable has once again nominated a number of talented stayers as they continue to search for their first Melbourne Cup victory with Ahzeemah, Colour Vision, Royal Empire and Songcraft all a chance to make the trip to Australia while arch rivals Ballydoyle have Ernest Hemingway, Foundry and Leading Light in the nominations.
Leading the Australian charge is the Macedon Lodge stable of Lloyd Williams who have twelve horses in the initial nominations, including Sea Moon, Masked Marvel and Emirates Stakes runner-up Fawkner, while Gai Waterhouse is giving herself ten chances to win her first Melbourne Cup, with her chances headlined by classy imported stayer Fiorente and the Queen’s horse Carlton House.
Current 2013 Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune is the only Darren Weir-trained stayer nominated for the race while Cups King Bart Cummings and his grandson James also have just the one nominee with veteran stayer Precedence a chance to contest the Melbourne Cup for the fourth time.
Mark Kavanagh-trained Super Cool is arguably the leading Australian bred chance after he proved his staying credentials with a second place finish in the 2012 Victoria Derby (2500m) last spring and began his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a fast finishing third in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) on Saturday.
Three-year-old Triple Crown winner It’s A Dundeel will be the major New Zealand-trained chance, although the Cox Plate remains the major 2013 Spring Racing Carnival goal for the talented four-year-old, with Sangster and Silent Achiever among the other Kiwi entries looking to end the Land of the Long White Cloud’s drought in the Melbourne Cup.
As trainer Mark Kavanagh confirmed on Saturday undefeated glamour mare Atlantic Jewel was not included in the Melbourne Cup nominations.
Weights for the 2013 Melbourne Cup will be released by Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter in two weeks.