Tuesday the 29th of August marked the day for first nominations into the race that stops the nation – The Melbourne Cup. 140 horses from 8 different nations have found their names in the nominations for this year’s 3200m event.
Weights are out on the 12th of September, but until then here are the ins and outs of the nominations, along with a two that might be worth a dabble at their early prices.
Audtralia’s premier trainer holds a typically strong hand with 17 nominations for the Melbourne Cup. Including Australian Bloodstock purchases Admire Deus ($21), Big Duke ($31) along with Australian Cup winner Humidor ($41).
Prolific owner and last year’s winning owner Lloyd Williams is paying the bills for 12 of those nominated. Headlined by last year’s winner (and brilliant returner) Almandin ($13 Fav.) the camp also has Crocodile Rock ($31), Kilimanjaro (31) and Hans Holbein ($34) well in the market.
James Cummings: 3 cups enteries for the Australian stable, led by Hartnell (ranging $26-$13)
Charlie Appleby: A small but elite team of 4 for the English trainer, including of Francis of Assisi ($26) who was undefeated in Australia last year winning the Bendigo Cup by 3L and the Queen Elizabeth (Flemington) by a whopping 10L. Kidmenever ($41) and Penglai Pavillion ($51) are also in the nominations.
Saeed bin Suroor: Also holds 4 nominations including Natural Scenery ($67) and Prize Money ($61).
Just the 3 nominations for the Irish horseman. Undoubtedly headlined by Lloyd Williams co-owned Order of St. George who was once favourite for last year’s cup before not making the journey after weights were announced.
Polarisation (Was $26):
The 2017 [dual – with the no race] Sydney Cup winner was well and truly on the punting public radar but will be missing from this year’s Melbourne Cup.
Oceanographer (Was $26):
Started as short as $9 in last year’s Cup after an emphatic win from well back in the Lexus Stakes. Another stayer Charlie Appleby will be leaving at home.
Big Orange (Was $26):
The big bold front running type will not be lining up for his third consecutive Cup despite having a good 2017, including two wins, a second and a fourth form 4 runs. One win was over Order of St. George and the other a 5L romp over 3264m.
Cheval Grand (Was $26):
The Tenno Sho runner up will not be travelling to Australian shores after finishing down the track in his subsequent 2200m run at Hanshin (alongside Tenno Sho and Japan Cup winner Kitisan Black). This galloper beat both Admire Deus (4th) and Albert (5th) in the Tenno Sho who are $21 and $26 respectively in the Melbourne Cup market – a form line worth noting.
Exospheric (Was $34):
The Freedman import looks to be heading to the Cox Plate rather than the Melbourne Cup.
Bagged a Group 1 double last preparation as a 3yo including the Rosehill Guineas. Subsequently well-beaten as a $2.80 favourite in the Australian Derby by fellow New Zealander Jon Snow ($51 for the Cup). There was a distinct rails pattern on that day and the crawling tempo up front gave this gelding no chance.
His most recent trial at Taupo was most encouraging, being asked for an effort well before the turn he eventually found his stride and rocketed to the line from near last. The turn of foot style stayer usually flourishes in Australia and hopefully we’ll get a glimpse of that when he goes around this weekend at Hastings (at $19 over 1400m).
The $101 that was on offer on Wednesday has been taken and it’s not too hard to envisage why. The 6yo did his best work late to win last week’s Ebor Handicap at York over the 2878m. The Ebor has been a quality form line for the Melbourne Cup in recent years, providing 2016 runner up in Heartbreak City.
Nakeeta is no stranger to the big stage, having finished second in last season’s Chester Cup and second in the Lanark Silver Bell in 2015. The 3200m journey will be no troubles for this gelding having placed second in 3 of his 5 most recent runs beyond 3000m. He’s the first ever Scottish Trained entrant and could prove to be a fairy tale for Iain Jardine [trainer].