Assessment of the big horses to race

BRIAN HEALY assesses some of the key runners in the 2016 Melbourne Cup, and he gives his big-race selection to land the “race that stops a nation”.

The top-class contest, which takes place over a two-mile (3200metre) trip at Flemington will go to post in the early hours of Tuesday morning GMT, and the global highlight has attracted another typically strong entry all chasing a top prize of nearly £2million making the classy event the richest two-mile flat handicap in the world.

Lloyd Williams, one of Australia’s most successful racehorse owners, insists Tuesday’s $6.2 million Melbourne Cup is completely open to allcomers, not just corporate interests with the deepest pockets. Charlie Appleby, one of Godolphin’s English trainers, and John Ferguson, the organisation’s global chief executive, acknowledge that their Cup candidates – Oceanographer and Qewy, in particular – who have burst onto the scene in recent weeks are hardly out of the ranks of top-drawer distance horses back home. Ciaron Maher’s Jameka will present stiff opposition to the chances of Hartnell, however, and although the mare was beaten behind John O’Shea’s star in the Turnbull Stakes she bounced back from that effort next time to run away with the Caulfield Cup, beating Charlie Appleby’s Scottish in convincing style.

Watch live coverage of the 2016 Melbourne Cup on At The Races (Sky Channel 415) – the special broadcast begins at 2300 (GMT) on Monday night.

“It’s a fantastic horse-race to be involved in and we really enjoyed previous year and were keen to come back”. His Highness would like to win it for Godolphin. To date, Godolphin has produced three placegetters in the Melbourne Cup.

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