Sixty seven horses remain in contention to fight for the 24 spots in the Melbourne Cup field following the announcement of first acceptances today.
The “pie in the sky” hopefuls have been withdrawn with only the best stayers remaining from the original group of 151 nominations.
It is no surprise to see a strong international presence, with 13 overseas stayers still vying for their chance in Australia’s biggest race.
Many have already arrived in Australia including past winners Americain and Dunaden, French five-year-old Brigantin, the Australian-owned Jakkalberry and My Quest For Peace.
The second shipment of international horses is due to arrive in Australia on October 20 and amongst them are Ed Dunlop’s 2011 runner-up Red Cadeaux and Fiorente who will be trained by Gai Waterhouse upon arrival in Australia.
Waterhouse has elected to withdraw a number of her hopes including star mare More Joyous and promising youngster Strawberry Boy but still has four horses remaining in contention.
Waterhouse’s import Glencadam Gold, who was dominant when leading from start to finish in the Group 1 Metropolitan on Saturday, joins Fiorente along with Reuben Percival and Western Symbol.
Prolific owner Lloyd Williams has spread his net far in his attempt to claim Melbourne Cup glory and has six still in contention.
The group is headed by the Cox Plate-bound Green Moon who produced a dominant win in Saturday’s Group 1 Turnbull Stakes and Mourayan who was tough when winning the Craven Plate in Randwick.
Other Williams-owned hopefuls include Excluded, Midas Touch, Tanby and Seville who produced his best Australian soil performance to date when second to his stablemate in the Turnbull Stakes.
Just one three-year-old remains in the list of those chasing the Melbourne Cup with Michael Moroney choosing to accept with Duelled gelding My Dancing Duel.
Two of the more notable withdrawals on the local front are Anthony Freedman-trained pair Fruehling and Mawingo.
Mawingo has been sent to the paddock following a virus while Freuhling, a four-year-old, could get his chance next year.
Other notable withdrawals include 2007 winner Efficient who has been retired and David Vandyke-trained gelding Lamasery who was injured during Saturday’s Metropolitan.