The Melbourne Cup will be contested without emergencies in both 2015 and 2016 after the Victoria Racing Club released the details of a Racing Victoria review into the subject.
There was plenty of criticism levelled at racing officials after the scratchings of Sea Moon and Cavalryman meant that there were only 22 runners in the 2015 edition of the Melbourne Cup, but the Racing Victoria Review found that the TAB were still unable to accommodate field sizes of more than 24 runners in any race in Australia and no changes would be made to this system until at least 2017.
“Australian and international pari-mutuel operators remain unable to accommodate field sizes in excess of 24 and would have to invest significantly in upgrades, while requiring regulatory approvals, to change this,” the report said.
“The Victorian racing industry would be up for significant direct charges related to these upgrades via its joint venture with Tabcorp without the likelihood of a return of investment through increased wagering activity, even when viewed in a longer-term context.
“The process of compulsory pre-acceptance veterinary inspections has and will continue to play an important role in managing the suitability of horses to accept.”
The Melbourne Cup has only ben run with a capacity field of 24 runners three times in the last decade and the lack of emergencies in the race meant that the likes of Big Memory and Shoreham were denied a place in the field last year.
Racing Victoria now conducts extensive veterinary checks to all possible runners before the final field is released on Victoria Derby Day, but that has not stopped the likes of Sea Moon (2014), Cavalryman (2014), Mourayan (2011), Bauer (2010), Changingoftheguard (2009), Zarita (2008), Yellowstone (2008), Gallic (2007), Maybe Better (2007), The Fuzz (2007) and Efficient (2006) all being late scratchings in the last decade.
Japanese stayer Fame Game ($15) is currently on top of the 2015 Melbourne Cup betting market with Ladbrokes and is a clear favourite from Godolphin stayer Hartnell ($17), Australian Derby winner Mongolian Khan ($17), star import Contributer ($21), last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist ($21), Darren Weir-trained Signoff ($21) and Hardwicke Stakes winner Snow Sky ($21).