24 Runners Ready for Potentially Historic Melbourne Cup
The strongest favourite for many a year, a reduced crowd, the same anticipation as always. The Melbourne Cup is upon us now with 24 runners charged up and ready to go at Flemington.
Lead-up races are over and most of the talking is done. Now, it’s down to a couple of dozen horses and their connections, all looking to enter racing folklore.
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Incentivise Ready for Date with Destiny
Cup favourite Incentivise has been a revelation since joining Peter Moody’s training operation. An impressive Makybe Diva, Turnbull Stakes and now Caulfield Cup winner, the bay gelding could hardly have done more.
Peter Moody too is someone who has insisted in the build-up to the event that he could not have done any more either, but now it’s all about the horse and whether he can carry on his amazing run of form in the most important race of all.
Incentivise’s emergence could not have come at a better time. Owing to extra veterinary protocols and the obvious problems with international travel, participation from overseas is at its lowest ever. He, though, is a superstar.
His undefeated run has now reached nine races. It didn’t begin in auspicious surroundings in all honesty, but it now includes a monstrous run to victory in the Caulfield Cup.
Among the general public, the view is that nothing coming out from the Caulfield Cup will be able to turn the form around. With that in mind, most eyes not trained on Incentivise will be on the two remaining international runners and bunch of danger horses at the bottom of the weights.
Are the European Horses in With a Shout?
Although bringing a very much depleted squad, international trainers still have an outstanding chance. Second and third in the betting behind Incentivise are Spanish Mission and Twilight Payment, meaning it’s not a done deal.
The latter needs no introduction. Twilight Payment is the defending champion and trainer Joseph O’Brien has him in even better form this time around. He does have a lot of weight however, meaning he’ll have a tough time emulating the likes of Think Big and the great Makybe Diva in successfully defending his crown.
Spanish Mission is arguably even more interesting however he’s not been without his setbacks. His form is top-notch, especially the tie-in with Stradivarius, but he too was originally an intended runner at Caulfield.
Having missed the first plane from England, Andrew Balding’s horse remained in Newmarket longer than anticipated and could therefore not take part in a prep run.
Although now passed fit, he also did please vets on Thursday and Friday. Backers will need to be very confident that he’s sound enough to show his best form when it counts. He’s not the only runner struggling in that regard either.
Both Delphi and Future Score are facing late vet checks. Racing Victoria veterinarians will have to pass the pair fit on Tuesday morning if they are to take part in what looks like a classic renewal of this amazing $8 million event.
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