No surprises as Melbourne Cup hopes are declared
EIGHTEEN overseas horses, including six from Ballydoyle, were declared for the Melbourne Cup at the first stage on Tuesday despite heightened quarantine restrictions since last year's outbreak of equine influenza.
As expected, the Japanese entries, including 2006 winner Delta Blues and runner-up Pop Rock, were missing from the 167 horses declared after Victorianracing officials last month failed in a bid to have the strict quarantine regulations relaxed to allow horses to fly directly from Japan.
Aidan O'Brien, whose Mahler was third to Efficient and English-trained Purple Moon last year, paid up for six Melbourne Cup entries, including top-weight Yeats (59kg) and Septimus, who will carry the next highest weight of 58.5kg.
Dermot Weld, who won the Cup with Vintage Crop in 1993 and Media Puzzle in 2002, will berepresented by Profound Beauty, who won the Listed Challenge Stakes at Leopardstown on July 16 before finishing third in the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes at the same track last month.
All the strongly fancied local horses stood their ground for the November 4 contest, including Efficient, who is 6-1 favourite at present, superstar Weekend Hussler and outstanding mare Tuesday Joy.
There were 137 entries for the Caulfield Cup on October 18 at the first declaration stage, including three from overseas.
Newmarket trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam's Traffic Guard - narrowly defeated by New Approach at Leopardstown on Sunday - was the only international raider left in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 25, along with 102 entries from Australia and New Zealand.