Dozen raiders set for Mel­bourne Cup start

The Daily Examiner - - SPORT - — Leo Sch­link

RAC­ING: A record 12 in­ter­na­tion­als – half the field – are poised to start in next Tues­day’s Mel­bourne Cup.

When sec­ond ac­cep­tances were taken for the $6 mil­lion hand­i­cap, 36 horses re­mained in con­tention with a third of them based at the Wer­ribee quar­an­tine sta­tion.

If the vis­it­ing dozen make the fi­nal field af­ter Satur­day’s Lexus Stakes, the ex­ist­ing record of 11 – set in 2011 and matched in 2015 – will fall.

Last year’s win­ner Al­mandin, a Ger­man-bred im­port, Caulfield Cup win­ner Boom Tim and Cox Plate run­ner-up Hu­mi­dor are among the lo­cals who will at­tempt to stave off the in­vaders.

Hart­nell, third in last year’s Cup, is also among the re­main­ing Aussie con­tenders and will carry top weight of 57.5kg if trainer James Cum­mings pro­ceeds to the Cup.

Of the 12 in­ter­na­tion­als, 11 are al­ready ranked in­side the top 24 although there is the pos­si­bil­ity Wall Of Fire, at No.24, could be squeezed out by Satur­day’s Lexus Stakes win­ner.

How­ever, Godol­phin vet­eran Qewy (No.22) won’t take his place in the Cup un­less he posts a dom­i­nant Bendigo Cup win to­mor­row.

Lloyd Williams, al­ready the most suc­cess­ful Cup owner in his­tory with five tro­phies, will chase a sixth vic­tory with pos­si­bly five run­ners – Al­mandin, Bondi Beach and for­eign-trained Jo­hannes Ver­meer, US Army Ranger and Rekin­dling. Ir­ish­man Wil­lie Mullins could have three run­ners – 2015 run­ner-up Max Dy­na­mite, Wick­low Brave and Thomas Hob­son, who sits at 26th in the or­der. Ger­man stayer Red Car­di­nal, pre­pared by 2014 Mel­bourne Cup-win­ning trainer An­dreas Wohler, and Scot­land’s Na­keeta are as­sured starts.

A to­tal of 19 horses were with­drawn from the Cup, in­clud­ing Bon­neval whose sta­ble­mate Jon Snow re­mains in con­tention.

The 12 horses sit­ting be­low the top 24 will have a fi­nal chance to climb the or­der in the Lexus ahead of fi­nal ac­cep­tances at Head­quar­ters at 4.30pm on Satur­day.

PHOTO: TRACEY NEARMY/AAP

BIG MO­MENT: Qewy, com­plet­ing track work at Wer­ribee Race­course, will con­test the Bal­larat Cup to­mor­row, need­ing a win.

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