Two Major Cup Contenders Ruled Out
After the injury to Incentivise and the move to France and subsequent retirement of Verry Elleegant, the Melbourne Cup has been rocked further by the scratching if two more very prominent horses.
Others thankfully have been passed fit as the field announcement and barrier draw nears.
Durston and Loft Scratched
Having been living the dream after winning the Caulfield Cup, owners of Durston are now devastated. Their galloper has been ruled out of the Melbourne Cup. After his mandatory pre-race scan, he was found to be unfit to race. The decision leaves champion jockey Damien Oliver without a ride in the race.
Durston’s scan showed up a grey area in his left hind leg. The $13 chance was then scratched despite the fact that officials weren’t 100% sure whether the scan truly showed anything to worry about. His scratching was seen simply as the safest course of action.
After the news of Durston’s departure from the race came that of second-favourite Loft going the same way.
The Racing Victoria vets picked up an issue when Loft was asked to trot up on Friday morning. Just like Oliver, the scratching leaves star jockey James McDonald without a mount in the race. This comes just a year after he expertly guided Verry Elleegant to a soaring Melbourne Cup win.
The Marcel Weiss-trained German runner had been trading very well in the betting market. He was as low as $6.50 for the race in fact but now misses out.
As well as those big two defections, Makram has also been scratched after his scan revealed a higher risk of injury than would be acceptable. Elsewhere, Gold Trip has been checked and passed fit along with a number of others.
That all means that Racing Victory have now confirmed that 29 horses remain in contention going into the weekend. They have passed all required inspections and scans. The final field must be reduced to 24 on Saturday.
How Have the Odds Been Affected?
Naturally, the Melbourne Cup odds will fluctuate right up to the moment the barriers open on Tuesday afternoon.
The fact that runners of the calibre of Loft and Durston have now been scratched however has had a seismic effect on the market going into the weekend.
Deauville Legend, the taking English Group 2 winner, is now as short as $3.80. An incredibly skinny price. Fellow English raider Without A Fight, steadily backed in recent days, is now just $8.00.
Montefelia is third in at $11.00, with both Gold Trip and $2m import Hoo Ya Mal at $13.00. Duais, Young Werther, Realm Of Flowers and former winner Vow And Declare come next on $17.00, while still good value is Emissary on $21.00.
The final field is announced by RV on Saturday with the final barrier draw to come later on.
Read more news about the Melbourne Cup.