Only three horses have dropped out of the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup after second acceptances, leaving several high profile internationals in danger of missing a run in the staying classic next Tuesday.
Only three of the 38 top-ranked horses were withdrawn by today's 10am second acceptance deadline - the injured Manighar, Seville and Midas Touch.
Five internationally-trained horses – Shahwardi (Alain de Royer Dupre), Gatewood (John Gosden), Lost In The Moment (Saeed bin Suroor), Brigantin (Andre Fabre) and Ibicenco (Luca Cumani) – remain outside the starting line-up of 24.
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.
Two races at Flemington on Saturday, the Group 1 Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m), afford those currently outside the top 24 an opportunity to secure a Cup start with a ballot exemption on offer for the winner of each.
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 targetted at the Plate, and connections are keen not to over-tax him, but his strong staying effort gave them cause to reconsider ending his campaign.
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)