The Paul Preusker trained Surprise Baby remains at the top of the betting for the 2020 Group 1 $8m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3 after nominations closed this week.
Ladbrokes.com.au have Surprise Baby marked as the $9 favourite for the Melbourne Cup and the six year old gelding is one of 174 nominations for Australia’s greatest race on the first Tuesday in November.
Preusker has also nominated Surprise Baby’s stablemates, Japanese imports Admire Robson and Admire Winner.
Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien has nominated last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Vow Ad Declare along with six of his stablemates, King Of Leogrance, Miami Bound, Out Of The Park, Russian Camelot, Saracen Knight and Wyclif.
Sydney’s champion trainer Chris Waller will be chasing his first Melbourne Cup win and has his outstanding mare Verry Elleegant heading up his list of thirteen nominations.
2020 Sydney Cup winner Etah James heads the nineteen Melbourne Cup nominations from the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable while the Lindsay Park Team of Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes have five entries for the Race That Stops A Nation.
Internationally trained horses are also high in number with the champion Irish trained Aidan O’Brien and his son Joseph providing sixteen of the of the thirty international entries.
Greg Carpenter, Racing Victoria’s (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing, said: “We were unsure as to the number of nominations that would be received this year given the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic so we’re delighted to see an increase in entries for both the Stella Artois Caulfield Cup and Lexus Melbourne Cup.
“It is pleasing that there is tremendous depth among the entries for both races with 29 Group 1 winners in the Caulfield Cup and 25 in the Melbourne Cup.
“It’s fantastic to see the defending Melbourne Cup champion Vow And Declare among this year’s entries and there is no question that Danny O’Brien holds an incredibly strong hand as he plots a pathway to both Cups.
“The number of internationally-trained entries is higher than expected in the circumstances, due largely to the tremendous interest from Aidan and Joseph O’Brien who have an impressive list of entries in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.”
Weights for the Melbourne Cup will be released on Tuesday, 8 September, with first acceptances on Tuesday, 29 September, while late entries close at 12 noon (AET) on Thursday, 3 September.
Early betting for the 2020 Melbourne Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $9 Surprise Baby, $10 Russian Camelot, $15 Verry Elleegant, $19 Master Of Wine, King Of Leogrance, $26 Dashing Willoughby, Nickajack Cave, Prince Of Arran, Schabau, Sovereign, Vow And Declare, $34 Colette, Constantinople, Finche, Oceanex, Patrick Sarsfield, Pondus, Port Guillaume, Sir Dragonet, Telecaster, True Self, Twilight Payment, $41 or more the rest.