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Coral look at some of the leading contenders for the Melbourne Cup

Runners go to post at 4am UK Time

After the excitement of the Breeders’ Cup in America at the weekend, attention now turns to Australia and the Melbourne Cup.

Europe is strongly represented in a field of 23 runners at Flemington, with 11 fancies making the trip over from the UK, Ireland and central Europe.

The Coral News Team has picked out the ones to watch ahead of the 4am off (UK Time) on Tuesday morning…

Marmelo

British-bred Marmelo looks set to start as the favourite down under. The four-year-old has been extremely impressive this term in landing two black-type successes in the Prix de Barbeville and Prix Kergorlay at Deauville in August.

A below-par showing in the Caulfield Cup can be wiped from the record on account of the trip being too short for a horse who has done his best work over 1m 7f. The step up to 2m should prove no problem and he’ll be all the better for having had that run in Australia despite the disappointing result. He’s a classy colt who should run well for Hughie Morrison.

Almandin

Last year’s winner and a fancied pick once again this time around. He landed last year’s prize by a head from Heartbreak City but is a year older now and carrying an extra 10lbs to boot. No seven-year-old has won the Grade 1 contest since Makybe Diva completed a hat-trick of successes in 2005.

But Almandin’s age has shown no signs of catching up with him. This season has produced a first and a fourth-place finish, both of which were at below the ideal distance. Frankie Dettori will be in the saddle as this top-class stayer goes for back-to-back Melbourne Cup victories.

Johannes Vermeer

Aidan O’Brien’s main hope is untested over 2m but showed plenty of quality when third in the Caulfield Cup. He rallied towards the end in that one, showing signs that a step-up could suit the Irish-bred raider.

Remarkably O’Brien is yet to land this prize. But in a year that has heralded unprecedented success at Group 1 level for the trainer, could the Irishman’s son of Galileo continue the streak in Australia?

Wall of Fire

A heavy traveller but not a consistent winner of late. The Hugo Palmer-trained four-year-old is without a win since September 2016 when landing the Mallard Stakes at Doncaster.

He went better when sporting blinkers as runner-up to Lord Fandango in the Herbert Power Stakes last time out. They’re swapped for a visor this time as the son of Canford Cliffs looks to defy odds the odds to land a maiden black-type contest.  

Rekindling

With fairly decent form behind him and weight no issue, Rekindling is one that could go well. The three-year-old was behind Capri, Crystal Ocean and Stradivarius when fourth in the St Leger at Doncaster.

Over an extended 2m at Flemington, the hope is that Joseph O’Brien’s mount can defy expectations and become the first three-year-old winner since Skipton in 1941. It won’t be easy, but the jockey booking is positive and he’s always there or thereabouts over the longer-trip.

Tiberian

Of those at longer-odds, the Coral News Team like the look of Tiberian. Connections have gone close in the past in this renewal while the horse himself is four from five this season. Three of those successes have come at Group level and the feeling is that he’ll be able to handle the extended trip quite comfortably.

A wide draw makes things difficult, but with a little bit of luck – as is required in this races – the French-trained raider has the credentials and the quality to make a serious go of things, even if only at each-way terms.

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