Defending champion Prince of Penzance as well as German-trained 2014 winner Protectionist are among the leading candidates for the upcoming Melbourne Cup, as the complete entry list for the iconic meeting was announced. With nominations having closed just over a week ago for the 156th Melbourne Cup at Flemington, a record 31 of the 124 total entries come from outside of Australia. Michelle Payne rode Prince of Penzance to victory in 2015 to become the first female winner, however, the 30-year-old will not be back on the same horse this year following a substantial absence through injury. Meanwhile, Champion trainer Aidan O'Brien has seven entries, as the Irishman looks to claim victory at Flemington for the first time in his career.
O’Brien’s Order of St George is the current 10/1 favourite for the race with bookmakers Betway having established himself as one of the leading contenders following a dominant victory at Royal Ascot recently. Willie Mullins, O’Brien’s fiercest rival, enters two horses, this time, around after earning a second place finish with Max Dynamite last year, and the current Betway odds are good for Clondaw Warrior and Wicklow Brave, with both offered odds of 25/1.
Meanwhile, competition for places among the 31 overseas entries comes in the shape of the Betfred Ebor winner Heartbreak City. The six-year-old Tony Martin trained horse is also given odds of 25/1 at Betway. Elsewhere, having recently admitted his intention of winning the Melbourne Cup at some point during his career, Luca Cumani has surprisingly made no entries into this year’s race. However, his son Matt could well have a runner in what is his first year as a trainer, with Grey Lion currently seen as a heavy outsider at Betway.
With races such as the Irish Champion Stakes, St Leger and Kentucky Cup proving crucial in preparations for the Melbourne Cup, odds at Betway could well change over the coming weeks as some of the leading candidates aim to head to Australia in good form. Another big day in the build up to the meeting will be September 13th, with the weights for the race being released. For those of you who can’t wait for the big race, the Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe, Qipco Champion Stakes and Cox Plate over the coming weeks certainly provide you with plenty of opportunity to bet on your favourite.