Today’s second acceptance deadline did little to change the list of contenders for the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) with only three of the top 50 ranked horses being withdrawn.
The trio no longer staking a claim for the $8 million race that stops a nation at Flemington on 5 November are Trap For Fools (22nd), Torcedor (34th) and Scarlet Dream (43rd) who were all withdrawn by their connections.
A total of 64 horses remain in contention for Australia’s most famous race, including the first seven horses across the line in the 2018 Melbourne Cup won by UK visitor Cross Counter.
Charlie Appleby’s star is one of 19 internationally trained horses that feature among the second acceptors, as does last year’s minor placegetters Marmelo and Prince of Arran.
Nine of the internationals are currently placed in the top 24 in the updated Order of Entry released today, including a trio of horses for 2017 Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Joseph O’Brien and a trio prepared by his father Aidan O’Brien.
Three horses being saddled up by Australian stables – Finche, Surprise Baby and Constantinople – head the early betting markets for the Melbourne Cup and all feature among the second acceptors.
The Chris Waller-trained Finche (24th) is returning after finishing fourth in the 2018 Cup, while country Victoria’s grand hope, the Horsham-trained Surprise Baby (1st), secured his ticket into the race with a dominant last start win in The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington.
Northern hemisphere three-year-old Constantinople (10th) has been imported by the Lindsay Park stable of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig who, along with Waller, have a race-high seven second acceptors.
Last year’s fifth placegetter Rostropovich (15th) and 2018 Ebor Handicap winner Muntahaa (22nd) are the other Lindsay Park acceptors currently inside the top 24, with their South Australian Derby winner Qafila perched just outside at 25th.
Other high profile second acceptors include The Andrew Ramsden (2500m) winner Steel Prince (2nd) – whose pursuit of Cup glory continues after his late scratching on vets advice at Caulfield last weekend – the James Cummings-trained Avilius (4th), ATC Derby winner Angel of Truth (13th), Queensland Derby winner Mr Quickie (23rd) and comeback hero Kings Will Dream (39th).
Just Thinkin’, the lone three-year-old among the first acceptances, has been withdrawn by 2013 Cup-winning trainer Gai Waterhouse who will rely solely on Japanese imports Hush Writer (52nd) and Wolfe (57th) who both need a feature race win in the countdown to further their chances of securing a Cup start.
Third acceptances for the Melbourne Cup will close at 10am (AEDT) on Monday, 28 October.
Click here to view Lexus Melbourne Cup Second Acceptors
Click here to view the updated Lexus Melbourne Cup Order of Entry