The early morning withdrawal of last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed and the inclusion of The Lexus Stakes winner Kelinni has only made minor adjustment to the makeup of the field for the 2012 Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.
French stayers Dunaden with Craig Williams to ride and Americain with Damien Oliver on board dominate the weights and the market order after the twenty-four horse field was finalised late this afternoon.
Both outstanding stayers will be trying to win their second Melbourne Cup with Americain winning two years ago with Gerald Mosse and Dunaden is looking for back to back victories after scoring a narrow win last year with Christophe Lemaire.
Overseas and imported horses make up over half the field with the Peter Moody trained Lights Of Heaven, Team Hawkes’ Niwot and Maluckyday and the Australian Derby winner Ethiopia the best chances of the locally trained home breds.
And Chris Waller’s Kelinni, who has done all his racing in Australia bar two runs in England early in his career is to be ridden by Glen Boss and also came into calculations with a good win in the Group 3 $250,000 The Lexus Stakes (2500m) today.
“It’s a great feeling to be apart of the race,” Waller said.
“It’s proven to be a pretty good form race in the past.
“The horse has been a model of consistency, a good second in a Group 1 race last start.”
And the Leon Corstens trained Zabeelionaire capped off his Melbourne Cup preparation with a solid fifth to Alcopop in the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington today.
Victoria’s premier trainer Peter Moody is looking for his first Melbourne Cup victory and as well as having his good staying mare Lights Of Heaven in the race is expecting improvement from Caulfield Cup failure, Italian import Voila Ici.
Sydney’s leading lady Gai Waterhouse will saddle up two Melbourne Cup runners, both imports, Metropolitan winner Glencadam Gold and her latest acquisition English stayer Fiorente who will be having his first start for the stable.
Jockey James McDonald ventured to Werribee midweek to ride Fiorente with the blinkers on in trackwork and was impressed with the English stayer.
“He looks great, he’s working fantastically,” said McDonald after completing the work.
“I let him slide down the back and he worked into the corner really well and when I gave him a squeeze up the straight, he extended really well.
“He ran through the line quite well, too. He has a lovely big stride, I think he will go on any sort of ground.”
Top Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani will saddle up two runners in Mount Athos who is a winner at his last three starts in England and My Quest Of Peace who ran a solid race when fifth to Dunaden in the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20.
Americain shot to the top of the market order at $5.50 with the booking of Oliver with Dunaden the next at $6 and Mount Athos at $8.00.
Last year’s runner-up Red Cadeaux is at $9 with Maluckyday the next in betting at $14.