There were several familiar local faces with multiples chances still in the Melbourne Cup when second acceptances were taken for the race this morning.
As expected, only three of the top 38 ranked horses were withdrawn for the race by today’s 10am second acceptance deadline. They are Manighar and Lloyd Williams' pair Seville and Midas Touch.
The low attrition rate has placed the Melbourne Cup at least temporarily out of reach for four well-ranked internationals - Lost In The Moment (Saeed bin Suroor), Brigantin (Andre Fabre), Shahwardi (Alain de Royer Dupre) and Gatewood (John Gosden) but the news is not so glum for the locals with 16 of the top 24 ranked horses trained in Australia.
Among the 46 horses remaining in the $6.2 million race are multiple entries from the most famous names of Australian racing such as Bart Cummings (Sanagas, Precedence), Gai Waterhouse (Glencadam Gold and Fiorente), Peter Moody (Lights Of Heaven and Voila Ici), Team Hawkes (Niwot and Maluckyday), Michael Kent (Unusual Suspect and Tac De Boistron) and those from the Lloyd Williams yard including Green Moon and Mourayan.
There are two races remaining that offer its winner a ballot-free run to the Melbourne Cup. They are Saturday's group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000 metres) and group 2 Lexus Stakes (2500 metres).
Shahwardi was highly impressive when storming home to win the Group 2 Herbert Power handicap at Caulfield at his first Australian start, beating home many local runners aspiring to Cups starts. Gatewood was luckless in that race, then convincingly won the Geelong Cup, which has supplied three recent Melbourne Cup winners. Brigantin was third in that muddlingly-run race, while Lost In the Moment has a strong record in good quality European staying events, and ran a creditable three-length sixth in the 2011 Melbourne Cup.
The Melbourne Cup field will be determined after final acceptances are taken at 5pm this Saturday, at the completion of the Victoria Derby day meeting at Flemington.
Ethiopia, Southern Speed and Green Moon, which all contested last Saturday's Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, were all paid for by their connections.
A decision on a run for Ethiopia, rated the best local Cup hope, is not expected until later in the week. The lightly-raced four-year-old was targeted at the Plate, and connections are keen not to over-tax him, but his strong staying effort in the weight-for-age classic gave them cause to reconsider ending his campaign.
Lloyd Williams, owner of Green Moon, said today that he would not make a decision on a Melbourne start until at least Friday.
In 2011, the 28th-ranked horse after second acceptances was the final horse to secure a berth in the Cup.
Melbourne Cup second acceptances
1 Americain (USA) (Alain de Royer Dupre)
2 Back in Black (NZ) (John Steffert)
3 Brigantin (USA) (Andre Fabre)
4 Cavalryman (GB) (Saeed Bin Suroor)
5 Dame Claire (NZ) (Pat Carey)
6 Dare to Dream (IRE) (Bart Cummings)
7 Dunaden (FR) (Mikel Delzangles)
8 Ethiopia (Pat Carey)
9 Exceptionally (NZ) ( Terry & Karina O'Sullivan)
10 Excluded (NZ) (Robert Hickmott)
11 Fictional Account (IRE) (David Hayes)
12 Fiorente (IRE) (Gai Waterhouse)
13 Galileo's Choice (IRE) (Dermot K Weld)
14 Gatewood (GB) (John Gosden)
15 Glencadam Gold (IRE) (Gai Waterhouse)
16 Green Moon (IRE) (Robert Hickmott)
17 Ibicenco (GER) (Luca Cumani)
18 Ironstein (Gerald Ryan)
19 Jakkalberry (IRE) (Marco Botti)
20 Kelinni (IRE) (Chris Waller)
21 Lights of Heaven (NZ) (Peter G Moody)
22 Lost in the Moment (IRE) (Saeed Bin Suroor)
23 Maluckyday (NZ) ( Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes)
24 Moudre (Ciaron Maher)
25 Mount Athos (IRE) (Luca Cumani)
26 Mourayan (IRE) (Robert Hickmott)
27 My Quest for Peace (IRE) (Luca Cumani)
28 Niwot ( Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes)
29 Peal of Bells (Gwenda Markwell)
30 Permit (GB) (Chris Waller)
31 Prairie Star (FR) (Danny O'Brien)
32 Precedence (NZ) (Bart Cummings)
33 Red Cadeaux (GB) (Ed Dunlop)
34 Reuben Percival (NZ) (Gai Waterhouse)
35 Sabrage (Michael Moroney)
36 Sanagas (GER) (Bart Cummings)
37 Shahwardi (FR) (Alain de Royer Dupre)
38 Southern Speed ( Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas)
39 Spechenka (Ben Ahrens)
40 Tac de Boistron (FR) (Michael Kent)
41 Tanby (Robert Hickmott)
42 Unusual Suspect (USA) (Michael Kent)
43 Vatuvei (Peter G Moody)
44 Voila Ici (IRE) (Peter G Moody)
45 Winchester (USA) (John Sadler)
46 Zabeelionaire (NZ) (Leon Corstens)
Sportingbet Australia Market
Mount Athos 9.00
Red Cadeaux 11.00
My Quest For Peace 21.00
Green Moon 21.00
Lights Of Heaven 23.00
Tac De Boistron 23.00
Galileos Choice 26.00
Glencadam Gold 35.00
Others 35.00 +