The race that stops two nations has attracted 183 nominations for this year’s running, including 11 New Zealand-trained horses.
Nominations for the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) were released on Thursday and Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman led the New Zealand charge with five entries for the two-mile feature.
They include dual New Zealand Horse of the Year Bonneval, Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) winner Jon Snow, Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) winner Vin de Dance, Group Three winner Highlad, and Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) runner-up Zacada.
Fellow Sydney Cup place-getter Sir Charles Road will also vie for a start for trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott, while Jamie Richards has entered Group Two winners Mongolianconqueror and Our Abbadean, and Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Graeme Rogerson has nominated Surrey, the son of three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva.
Meanwhile, Taranaki will have two hopefuls for the race in the form of the Allan Sharrock-trained Ladies First, who won this year’s Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m), and the John Wheeler-trained Pentathlon, who finished ninth in the 2016 running of the Melbourne Cup.