The Lloyd Williams-owned Macedon Lodge and the Chris Waller stable have each included 12 stayers in the 2014 Melbourne Cup nominations that were released by Racing Victoria this afternoon.
Macedon Lodge had a record breaking six runners in the 2013 Melbourne Cup field and the leading owner is set to have another large team in the 2014 edition of the race.
Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner, 2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon, Masked Marvel and Sea Moon all contested ‘the race that stops a nation’ last year and have been included in the nominations for this year’s race, while the likes of Foundry, The United States, Hartani, Massiyn and Thought Worthy could make the step-up to Group 1 level during their second preparations in Australia.
German stayer Almandin and Lancaster Stakes winner Amralah are yet to make their Australian racing debuts and are considered only outside chances of being ready to run in the Melbourne Cup.
Waller has also included 12 horses in the Melbourne Cup nominations, but a number of his hopefuls appear unlikely to earn a start in the race unless they win a race like the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) that grants the winner ballot exempt entry into the Melbourne Cup field.
Headlining the Waller team heading towards the Melbourne Cup are imported stayers Our Voodoo Prince and He’s Your Man.
He’s Your Man recorded his maiden Australian race win with an impressive performance in the Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 30 and he was far from disgraced when third behind the Gai Waterhouse-trained duo of Greatwood and Bonfire in the Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) at the same venue on Saturday.
Our Voodoo Prince started his Australian racing career with three straight wins and he is considered a leading contender for both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), despite finishing at the tail of the field in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 23.
2013 Australian Oaks winner Royal Descent started her spring campaign with an impressive second behind Tiger Tees in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 23 and is a chance of making her debut over 3200 metres in the 2014 Melbourne Cup.
Sydney Cup runner-up Opinion and Auckland Cup winner Who Shot Thebarman both have strong form over 3200 metres and have been set for the Melbourne Cup.
Waller has included Weary and Hawkspur in the Melbourne Cup nominations, but neither is expected to be set for the race, while Bagman, Brigantin, Junoob, Multilateral and Trade Commissioner would need to win a lead-up race to be any chance of qualifying for the race.
Last year’s winning trainer Gai Waterhouse has just three horses in the 2014 Melbourne Cup nominations, but her talented trio includes current favourite The Offer, who is set to return to the races in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.