In a thoroughbred racing world gone mad, where a horse that has barely been out of the barn and runs on dirt can earn more for showing up than can one of the greatest that has ever taken to the turf, it is gratifying to see so many internationals interested in showing up to contest The Race That Stops a Nation.
Runners from across Europe and some from Japan, and for the first time, Scotland, are all trying to prove they have what it takes to run on the first Tuesday of November. The number is currently at about 31, although it would have to be thought that some of them lack the true necessary credentials.
Even with the advent of The Everest, however, there are only six thoroughbred horse races that surpass the prize money pool for the Melbourne Cup; so obviously, the financial incentive is a huge lure.
Given the slow and inexorable demise of stayers and staying races, it is refreshing to see that the Melbourne Cup holds such an allure.
Our recent investigation shows that domestic and internationals combined, 140 horses would like to occupy one of the 24 barriers for the Cup. That is 16 more than last year, so Racing Victoria is doing its doing marketing the race.
It would be amusing to contemplate one of the internationals spending the necessary time in quarantine to come to Australia and attempt a Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup double.
For that matter, it would be nice if one of the domestics would do so.
It has been 16 years since Ethereal completed the Cups double and only 10 horses prior have managed the feat. It works out roughly to one per decade, so it would seem that it is getting into a time zone where a double is overdue.