Akavoroun heads Maher's Melbourne Cup bid

BOOM galloper Akavoroun is one of five horses Ciaron Maher has nominated for the $6.2million Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday, November 4.

Maher’s other entries in the race that stops a nation are Kapour, Light Up Manhattan, Marksmanship and Mr O’Ceirin while St Jean, trained by Warrnambool’s Aaron Purcell, was also among the final 148 entries for the race at the noon deadline yesterday.

Maher said his entries for the Cup were rated in the high 90s or 100s.

“My horses all have good ratings but now we’ve got to get them into the race,” he said. 

“I reckon it’s going to be tougher this year for the locals to get a run as there are a lot of international entries.

“Hopefully a couple of my horses will win the right races on the way through to get a start in the Cup. It’s a tricky exercise trying to get a runner.”

Akavoroun, which has won six of his seven starts, kicks off his quest to gain a start in the Cup when he lines up in the Bobbie Lewis Handicap at Flemington on September 13.

The former international galloper Kapour has his first Australian start in a 1600-metre race at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

Mr O’Ceirin will be entered for the Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield and the Hill Stakes in Sydney on September 20 while Marksmanship runs in an open handicap over 2000 metres at Flemington on September 13.

Light Up Manhattan opens his campaign for Maher in a maiden race over 1400 metres at Bendigo on September 10. Purcell said it was a balancing exercise to get St Jean into the final field of 24 that will face the starter in the Melbourne Cup.

“We’ll probably run St Jean in an open handicap or the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at the Valley on Saturday,” Purcell said.

“We’ll have that finalised this morning. Our main aim is to get a run in the Naturalism Stakes and then get into the Caulfield Cup.

“I’m more worried about getting a run in the Caulfield Cup at this stage.

“The funny thing is I’m not sure whether St Jean can run two miles or whether he is good enough to win the Melbourne Cup but we’ve got to give him every opportunity to get into the race.”

Star mare Estimate is one of 31 internationally-trained horses nominated for the Cup. 

Racing Victoria’s executive general manager of racing Greg Carpenter declared the quality of nominations was testament to the prestige of the Cup.

“The Emirates Melbourne Cup is the world’s premier staying race and the quality of the local and international entries for this year’s race is really pleasing,” Carpenter said.

“This year marks the changing of the guard in many ways with recent winners Dunaden, Americain and reigning champion Fiorente now retired to stud, the latter two here in Victoria.

“We have entries from seven countries and are excited to welcome Japanese participation for the first time since 2010, along with renewed interest from German trainers.”

Weights for the Melbourne Cup will be released on Tuesday, 16 September, with first acceptances taken at noon on Tuesday, October 7.

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