Year Of The Internationals At Melbourne Cup
An all-time record high of twelve international horses are set and ready in still in the running to start in this year’s Melbourne Cup. In the event that the visiting horses to make it into the final field after the last qualifier, Saturday’s Lexus Stakes, it will be a new record, with 2011 and 2015’s magic eleven being officially outnumbered.
The hope is that the remaining locals will run strong despite the overwhelming number of outsiders set to compete this year. Some of the stronger local contenders include Almandin (a German-bred import and last year’s Melbourne Cup winner), Caulfield Cup winner Boom Tim and Humidor (second in the Cox Plate).
Of the twelve international likely contenders, eleven are already counted for the top twenty four. The verdict is still out on number twenty four, Wall of Fire, who could end up being edged out by the winner of Saturday’s Lexus Cup.
A Lot At Stake
Lloyd Williams has a lot hanging in the balance. Five, to be exact. The five times Melbourne Cup trophy holder will be running champion Almandin, Bondi Beach, Johannes Vermeer, Rekindling and US Army Ranger.
Willie Mullins could very well end up with three competitors in the game, Max Dynamite, Thomas Hobson (currently placed 26th), and Wicklow Brave. Mullins has said that he is especially happy with the possible inclusion of Thomas Hobson and Max Dynamite and that Wicklow Brave would be an added happy bonus. Mullins came very close to a Melbourne Cup trophy in 2015 when Max Dynamite placed 3rd.
Joau Moreira is the appointed jockey to be racing Thomas Hobson but the verdict is still out as to who will be sitting in Max Dynamite’s saddle this year. Max Dynamite’s stablemate Riven Light was long viewed as a Melbourne Cup possibility, but his hopes were cut short after he sustained a fractured joint during the Caulfield Stakes.
German stayer Red Cardinal and Scotland’s Nakeeta are both assured starts. The top twelve horses currently ranked below the top twenty four will have another chance yet to show their worth and qualify to participate at the Lexus Stakes.
A total tally of nineteen horses have been withdrawn from this year’s Melbourne Cup, most notably probably Murray Baker trained Bonneval. Bonneval was plagued by injuries during the lead-up to the Caulfield Cup week and performed accordingly.
As a result, Murray Baker has announced that Bonneval will not be competing in the Melbourne Cup after all.
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