Racing Victoria (RV) has today released the Orders of Entry for the Spring Racing Carnival’s two premier handicaps, the $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) and the $5.15 million Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Homesman, owned by Lloyd Williams and trained by Liam Howley, is one of two horses currently guaranteed a start in the 142nd Caulfield Cup after winning the Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) at The Valley last week.
Following his victory in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) earlier this year, David Brideoake’s versatile galloper Self Sense is also exempt from the ballot for the world’s richest turf handicap over 2400m, which will be run on Saturday, 19 October at Caulfield.
Godolphin-owned duo Hartnell and Avilius are third and fourth respectively in the Caulfield Cup Order of Entry, with their fellow Group 1 winner Humidor – trained by the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace partnership – rounding out the top five.
The field for the 159th Melbourne Cup, which occupies its traditional date on the first Tuesday in November, will include Anthony Freedman’s imported stayer Steel Prince, who secured his start in the Flemington showpiece courtesy of his thrilling win in The Andrew Ramsden (2800m) in May.
Multiple Group 1 winner Lys Gracieux, trained in Japan by Yoshito Yahagi, comes next in the Melbourne Cup Order of Entry, followed in third by Aidan O’Brien’s star stayer Kew Gardens.
Despite being allocated one kilo less – 57kg to 58kg – by Greg Carpenter, RV’s Executive General Manger – Racing, Lys Gracieux comes ahead of Kew Gardens due to the fact that in the benchmark weights for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, mares receive a 1.5kg allowance.
Charlie Appleby’s defending champion Cross Counter is fourth in the Melbourne Cup Order of Entry, followed by fellow Godolphin galloper Avilius, trained by James Cummings.
Notably, the winners of the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) and Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) are both certain of a start in the Melbourne Cup, with Angel of Truth and Verry Elleegant occupying 15th and 19th place respectively.
The pair are also in line for a Caulfield Cup start with the Chris Waller-trained Verry Elleegant 10th in the Order of Entry and the Gwenda Markwell-trained Angel of Truth one place further back.
The reigning victors of the Queensland Derby (Mr Quickie) and South Australian Derby (Qafila) are only narrowly outside the starting line-up in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups and, based on the attrition rate of previous years, both are favoured to gain starts should their connections choose to target either race.
While Steel Prince sits atop the Melbourne Cup Order of Entry the horse he narrowly defeated in the ballot exempt The Andrew Ramsden, Surprise Baby, faces a challenge to secure a start in 59th place.
The country Victorian’s next opportunity to guarantee a start will come via the $500,000 Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday, 5 October – one of four ballot exemption races remaining for the 2019 Melbourne Cup.
While international horses feature prominently in the Melbourne Cup Order of Entry, European raiders Prince of Arran (48th), True Self (53rd), Raheen House (55th), Red Galileo (56th) and Haky (71st), who are all expected to make the long journey to Melbourne for the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival, are no guarantees of gaining a place in Australia’s most famous race.
As it stands today, the final runner guaranteed a start in the Caulfield Cup is emerging Japanese talent Mer De Glace (18th in the Order of Entry), whilst Andrew Balding’s talented northern hemisphere three-year-old Dashing Willoughby currently occupies the 24th and final place in the Melbourne Cup list.
The next Caulfield Cup ballot exemption is the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington this Saturday, 14 September followed by the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield a week later, a race which was won by Jameka en route to her 2016 Cup triumph.
In each Cup there are a number of horses that are yet to pass the ballot clause and will progress in the Order of Entry when they do so.
Horses can satisfy the Caulfield Cup ballot clause by finishing in the top three in a Group race of 1600m or further, or by winning a Listed race of 1600m or further.
Horses can satisfy the Melbourne Cup ballot clause by finishing in the top three in a Group race of 2300m or further; winning a Listed race of 2300m or further; finishing in the top eight in the Caulfield Cup; finishing in the top three in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on Saturday, 26 October; or by succeeding Winx as the winner of the Group 1 Seppelt Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on 5 October.
First acceptances for the Caulfield Cup close at 12 noon (AEST) on Tuesday, 24 September, and a week later at 12 noon (AEST) on Tuesday, 1 October for the Melbourne Cup.
The full Order of Entry for the Melbourne Cup (as at 12 September 2019) is available here
The full Order of Entry for the Caulfield Cup (as at 12 September 2019) is available here
The Orders of Entry will be updated by RV each Monday in the countdown to the Cups.