Flemington Racecourse is set to host the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup – better known as the race that stops a nation. It promises to be fascinating running. Here is our preview of some of the entries which caught our eye.
The two-mile Group 1 handicap welcomes twenty-four runners to post. There are three British representatives and seven Irish-trained among entries.
A low stall draw has proven beneficial down through the years. Joseph O’Brien is fresh from his Breeders’ Cup success with Iridessa at Santa Anita Park, and the 2017 Melbourne Cup winner (Rekindling) has four runners going to post.
Master Of Reality landed the plum draw with drawing stall 1. The son of Frankel will be partnered by Frankie Dettori. The stall draw is a high advantage for the four-year-old, however, he wants proper stamina and so could do with better ground conditions.
2019 Hotham Stakes winner Downcraft drew stall 15 and after a stellar performance at Flemington last weekend, he may be one to watch. Important to note he was also third to Hunting Horn on his first Australian start. Irish Derby Hero Latrobe will exit from stall 22. The four-year-old finished second in the Mackinnon Stakes last season – and he is competitively handicapped.
Twilight Payment will be partnered by Hugh Bowman and is young O’Brien’s fourth entry, He drew stall 18.
Ballydoyle Mastro Aidan O’Brien will be chasing his first Melbourne Cup success. Hunting Horn – landed the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup and got the decent draw of stall 11. Seamie Heffernan takes the reins and the Camelot progeny is certainly one to keep a close eye on.
O’Brien fulfils his entries with Magic Wand who is set to be ridden by Ryan Moore. A tough filly, who on her latest outing finished fourth in the Cox Plate, while Wayne Lordan’s mount Il Paradiso who runs in new headgear.
Formally Ballydoyle inmate Constantinople, who is now trained locally, is the ante-post favourite. The three-year-old was also an eye-catching fourth in the Caulfield Cup last month.
The sole Japanese raider Mer De Glace who is trained by Hisashi Shimizu has drawn stall 2. This four-year-old has a fantastic form to date – 11112. However, the slow ground may be a concern.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter will attempt to make it two in a row for English trainer Charlie Appleby. Historically only four horses have ever won this Group 1 Handicap back to back. The Dubai Gold Cup winner will be ridden by William Buick. Can the son of Teofilo make history? Time will tell but he also has the advantage of drawing stall 5.
Chris Walker-trained Finche was fourth in the 2018 contest and was warmed up for this year’s challenge where he finished fifth in the Caulfield Cup. Set to be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, the son of Frankel finished fourth in the 2018 Melbourne Cup.
Selection: Hunting Horn