Nominations for the 2015 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) were released today by Racing Victoria (RV) and the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) with the two oldest contenders certain to attract the most interest in the countdown to the first Tuesday in November.
Red Cadeaux and Precedence, both 10-year-olds by southern hemisphere time, feature amongst 140 entries taken today for the $6.2 million feature with the pair both chasing a fifth start in the Cup.
Red Cadeaux, the British stayer who has become a crowd favourite down under after second-placed finishes in the 2011, 2013 and 2014 Melbourne Cups, is one of a collective 31 internationally-trained entrants from the UK, Ireland, Germany, France and Japan. He is among three entries for trainer Ed Dunlop who has also nominated the 2015 Ascot Gold Cup winner Trip to Paris.
Precedence, who is one of five entries for 27-year-old James Cummings, will be out to honour his late Hall of Fame co-trainer Bart Cummings who prepared him for starts in the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 Melbourne Cups, his most recent appearance delivering a career best sixth placing.
The pair will be the sentimental favourites at Flemington on 3 November, but they will need to re-write history with eight-year-olds Catalogue (1938) and Toryboy (1865) the oldest Melbourne Cup winners.
Other highlights among the nominations include:
* The first three horses home in the 2014 Melbourne Cup – Protectionist (trainer Kris Lees), Red Cadeaux (Ed Dunlop) and Who Shot Thebarman (Chris Waller) – have all been entered;
* Four entrants from famed Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien in Ascot Gold Cup runner-up Kingfisher, Irish St Leger Trial Stakes winner Order of St George, Curragh Cup winner Bondi Beach and Ballyroan Stakes winner Fields of Athenry. O'Brien's last runners were in 2008;
* Two entries from fellow Irishman and dual Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Dermot Weld in Manalapan and Zafayan. Weld's last runner was Galileo's Choice in 2012;
* The return of five-time Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Lee Freedman, who has two entries including high profile German import Our Ivanhowe, with his brother and co-trainer Anthony. This year marks the 10th anniversary since the Freedman-trained Makybe Diva won an historic third Melbourne Cup and 20 years since the Freedman-trained Doriemus won the 1995 edition;
* Two Japanese entries, the highly rated pair Fame Game and Hokko Brave, who are the first internationals scheduled to arrive in Melbourne on Saturday, 19 September;
* This year's victors of high profile European staying races in Hardwicke Stakes winner Snow Sky, Lonsdale Cup winner Max Dynamite and Goodwood Cup winner Big Orange;
* A renewed assault from New Zealand with the Murray Baker-trained Australian and New Zealand Derby winner Mongolian Khan striving to become the first NZ-trained winner since Ethereal in 2001; and
* A pair of six-year-old mares with an intrinsic link to the Cup in La Amistad – the daughter of Makybe Diva – and Let's Make Adeal – the granddaughter of the 1991 Bart Cummings-trained winner Let's Elope.
In releasing nominations, RV's Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said the quality of nominations was reflective of the global regard afforded to the Emirates Melbourne Cup.
“The Emirates Melbourne Cup is the world's premier staying race and the quality of the local and international entries for this year's race is outstanding,” Carpenter said.
“The depth amongst the international contingent is exceptional with the Ascot Gold Cup quinella, Hardwicke Stakes winner, Goodwood Cup trifecta, Lonsdale Cup winner and a pair of Japan's elite stayers amongst 31 international entries.
“It is most pleasing to see such a strong book of entries from Aidan O'Brien who has not had a Melbourne Cup runner since 2008 and whom enjoyed breakthrough success in Melbourne last Spring Racing Carnival winning the Cox Plate with Adelaide.
“Following the passing of the 'Cups King' Bart Cummings this week there will naturally be plenty of people hoping that Precedence can secure his place in a fifth Melbourne Cup and it would be most fitting if he could.
“With crowd favourite Red Cadeaux also set to return for a fifth appearance and last year's brilliant winner Protectionist among the entries, the scene is set for yet another brilliant and memorable renewal of the Emirates Melbourne Cup.”
VRC Chief Executive, Simon Love, said the strength and depth of the nominations was very pleasing.
“There are the big international names of Sir Michael Stoute, Dermot Weld, Aiden O'Brien, Ed Dunlop and Godolphin amongst the entries. And the cream of our local stayers all feature with our best trainers looking to keep this year's Emirates Melbourne Cup in Australia,” Mr Love said.
“It is particularly encouraging to attract a horse of the quality Snow Sky, heralding Juddmonte's first ever runner for the Emirates Melbourne Cup.
“For sentimentalists it will be hard to go past the five nominations for Bart and James Cummings, including their old warhorse Precedence.”
Weights for the Emirates Melbourne Cup will be released on Tuesday, 15 September, with first acceptances taken at 12 noon (AEST) on Tuesday, 6 October.
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