Strong international noms in Melbourne Cup

MELBOURNE Aug 30 2016

A total of 124 horses from nine countries have been nominated for the 156th running of the Melbourne Cup.

Nominations closed on Tuesday for the $6 million race at Flemington on November 1, and the winners of the past two Cups, Prince Of Penzance and Protectionist, are among those entered.

Thirty-one horses from those nine countries have been entered, including Trip To Rhodes, which is the first nomination by a trainer from the Czech Republic.

"The challenge is now to get them here," Racing Victoria general manager Greg Carpenter said.

Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien has seven entries, which brings to 30 his nominations from 16 horses across the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.

Godolphin trainers Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby have 10 nominations as they go chasing a first Cup victory.

Carpenter said the Australian list was very strong, with nominations boosted by the winners of Derbies and Oaks around Australia.

Lee Freedman, chasing a sixth Cup victory, has 12 horses in the entry with his brother Anthony.

"I think it's impressive that Mornington has 10 per cent of the entries," Freedman said.

"Most of those horses are down at the beach but whether that converts to runners has to be seen.

"The horses are in good form, particularly Our Ivanhowe, who's still our main strike stayer."

RV's international recruitment officer Leigh Jordan says the picture will become clearer for international representation in two weeks.

He said the Doncaster Cup on September 9, meetings in Ireland and France on September 10 and 11 would be a factor.

"That will be the weekend when we'll find out a bit more who might be coming," Jordon said.

"There's a few in there but they just haven't committed at this stage."

Carpenter said Ascot Gold Cup winner Order Of St George and Protectionist would be high up in the handicap order when weights are released on September 13.

"The topweight has to have at least 58kg," Carpenter said.

"Without giving too much away those two horses are going to be up near the head of the weights."

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Lord Macau is the only three-year-old among the nominations.

Clondaw Warrior, a nine-year-old trained by Willie Mullins, is the oldest.

By Craig Brennan - AAP

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