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Strong international team looking for a back-to-back win in Melbourne Cup

More than half the runners in the 24-strong field for the G1 Melbourne Cup are trained outside Australia with ten from stables with principal bases in the UK or Ireland, one from Japan and two prepared from New Zealand.

Strong international team looking for a back-to-back win in Melbourne Cup

More than half the runners in the 24-strong field for the G1 Melbourne Cup are trained outside Australia with ten from stables with principal bases in the UK or Ireland, one from Japan and two prepared from New Zealand.

Young Irishman Joseph O’Brien, last year, became the fourth visitor to win the Cup in the past ten years when Rekindling prevailed narrowly from Johannes Vermeer - trained by his father Aidan who returns with three runners including favourite Yucatan.


With 30 millimetres of rain forecast for Monday and Tuesday, the prospect of soft ground for the meeting might further swing the odds in favour of the international runners in the famous 3200 metres handicap.

The visitors have five of top seven in the weights and five of the top six in the betting with most accomplished on soft ground.

Since Vintage Crop’s historic win in 1993, the internationals not only boast a further six wins in the race but have also had a further fourteen runners-up, several of whom were either unluckily or narrowly beaten.

Five of the seven international winners had had a lead-up run in Australia before the Cup but Rekindling joined Vintage Crop as a winner on Australian debut last year.

Fourteen individual, visiting horses have recorded a total of 16 Melbourne Cup seconds or thirds when racing first-up in Australia including the Hong Kong-owned Red Cadeaux, who was second three times.

Yucatan heads the market this year after his stunning win in the G2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on 13 October. The Galileo horse, raced in similar interests to last year’s winner Rekindling, has had a dramatic lift in form since blinkers were applied three starts back.

Co-owner Nick Williams said he was not greatly concerned about Yucatan drawing barrier 23. “I’m of the view that barriers don’t really matter in this race because you have 1000m before the first turn,” he said. “They sort themselves out by then. If they’re good enough, they will still win from out there.”

Godolphin, still chasing that elusive first Cup win, is represented by Avilius from it’s Australian arm plus Best Solution, who is trained by Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby’s Cross Counter.

Avilius is prepared by James Cummings, grandson of the legendary trainer Bart Cummings who prepared 12 Melbourne Cup winners. Best Solution won the recent G1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), perhaps significantly on soft ground, while Cross Counter is an in-form Northern Hemisphere contender.

Godolphin has had 31 runners in the Cup for three seconds—Central Park (1999); Give The Slip (2001) and Crime Scene (2009) plus two thirds with Beekeeper (2002) and Hartnell (2016).

Hong Kong’s Zac Purton flies in to ride Finche for trainer Chris Waller in the Cup. It is one of five races to be simulcast from Flemington on Tuesday.


HKJC




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