Melbourne Cup 2017 - The European Challenge

Thu 12th Oct 2017, 07:50

Melbourne Cup 2016, ALMANDIN and Kerrin McEvoy beats HEARTBREAK CITY and Joao Moreira
©Healy Racing Photos
The Melbourne Cup is often referred to as 'the race that stops a nation', and for good reason. It is a huge occasion in the Australian sporting calendar, warranting a public holiday in its home state of Victoria. This year's race, for 3 year old horses and above, will take place on Tuesday 7th November 2017 at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne. The race has a long and proud history dating all the way back to 1861.

Since 1993, when the Dermot Weld trained Vintage Crop became the first horse from the Northern Hemisphere to win this prestigious event, international interest and participation has grown steadily. In 2017, a strong contingent from Europe will again travel to Australia to contest the race. More than half the total nominations received this year are from horses bred in the Northern Hemisphere (primarily Europe), and with a total prize pot in excess of $6million, there is plenty at stake. Once the entries have been whittled down and the final 24 runners been confirmed, European horses are sure to be amongst the hot favourites.To support your favourites, use sports betting promo code.

In 2016, Almandin, bred in Germany, won a thrilling race, just edging out Ireland's Heartbreak City at the finish line. Almandin is strongly fancied again this year and is an early favourite in the betting and amongst tipsters. German bred horses have now won the race twice, whilst one French horse has previously triumphed. There are likely to be several French horses making the journey this time, with Tiberian probably being the pick of the bunch.

As always, there will be a strong showing from Irish bred horses and Irish trainers, possibly accounting for up to a third of the total runners. There are several names to look out for including the Joseph O'Brien trained pair of US Army Ranger and Rekindling and Willie Mullins' Thomas Hobson and Max Dynamite. Qewy finished fourth in last year's Melbourne Cup and looks set to take its place in the starting stalls again this time round. More likely contenders this year though, are Francis of Assisi and Red Cardinal, who both feature strongly in the tipster's early top picks. Ventura Storm, Big Duke, Wall of Fire, Aloft and Crocodile Rock are among the best of the other Irish bred contenders and could be well worth a flutter.

As for the British challenge; Hartnell, a Godolphin owned horse who came home third last year, should mount a decent challenge again this time round. Equally fancied to do well is St Michel, who is making his first trip to Melbourne. All in all, we can expect to see a strong challenge from the European contingent on November 7th, but who will ultimately triumph?

Arrogate to retire after Breeders' Cup

Arrogate will retire to stud after contesting the Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar next month.

THE IRISH TIMES