The Andrew Ramsden Stakes winner Steel Prince and last year’s victor Cross Counter head the order of entry after the first acceptances were taken for the 2019 Group 1 $8m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5.
Steel Prince is one of 79 first acceptors for the 2019 Melbourne Cup and the Anthony Freedman trained six year old is exempt from the ballot after winning the Listed $400,000 The Andrew Ramsden (2800m) at Flemington on May 25.
The Charlie Appelby trained Cross Counter is set to defend his title on the first Tuesday in November and is currently in quarantine in England awaiting to board a flight to Melbourne with several stablemates.
“He (Cross Counter) has strengthened this year. He was a well-handicapped horse when winning last year’s Melbourne Cup. It will be a stiffer task this year, but the way he won the race we know he handles all the conditions down there, so it is well worth going again,” Appleby said.
The Appleby trained Ispolini will join last year’s winner Cross Counter along with three gallopers from Aidan O’Brien’s famous Ballydoyle stables – Hunting Horn, Il Paradiso and Magic Wand.
Gai Waterhouse won the 2013 Melbourne Cup with Fiorente and she is hoping to team up with co-trainer Adrian Bott to chase another win with imports Hush Writer as well as Wolfe and the only three year old left in contention, Just Thinkin’
Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller is still chasing his first Melbourne Cup win and has seven stayers left in contention after the first acceptances.
French import Finche raced under the Waller banner last year for a fourth to Cross Counter and along with Verry Elleegant and Brimham Rocks supply a lot of staying talent for this year’s ‘Race That Stops A Nation’.
Finche sits at top of the betting at Ladbrokes.com.au for the 2019 Melbourne Cup at $13 just ahead of the Lindsay Park trained European import Constantinople and last year’s runner up Marmelo at $15.
Second acceptances for the 2019 Melbourne Cup will be taken on Tuesday, October 22.
Early betting for the 2019 Melbourne Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $13 Finche, $15 Constantinople, Marmelo, $17 Cross Counter, Ispolini, $21 Master Of Reality, Mustajeer, Raheen House, Raymond Tusk, Rostropovich, $26 Mr Quickie, Southern France, Torcedor, Yucatan, $31 Mer De Glace, Steel Prince, Surprise Baby, $34 Gold Mount, Il Paradiso, Prince Of Arran, Twilight Payment, $41 Downdraft, $51 or better the rest.
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