British hopes in Melbourne entry
Mount Athos and Brown Panther head a fascinating European entry for the Emirates Melbourne Cup on November 5.
The pair, trained by Luca Cumani and Tom Dascombe respectively, are both prominent in the ante-post market for the two-mile Group One heat.
Mount Athos finished fifth in the race last year and was last seen when claiming a narrow second in a Goodwood Listed event last time while the Michael Owen-owned Brown Panther triumphed in the Goodwood Cup on his most recent outing.
Red Cadeaux hit the bar for Ed Dunlop in the race back in 2011 and is one of two entries for the trainer along with Joshua Tree.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Opinion disappointed in the Ebor last time but has been given an Australian entry along with fellow York also-ran Caravan Rolls On from the Peter Chapple-Hyam yard.
Saeed bin Suroor has a handful of contenders with Lonsdale Cup winner Ahzeemah, Colour Vision, Royal Empire and Songcraft in the mix.
David Lanigan has two possibles in Biographer and Main Sequence while Marco Botti's American St Leger winner Dandino, the Nicky Henderson-trained Forgotten Voice, Ed Walker's Ruscello and the William Haggas-trained Sun Central complete the list of British contenders.
Dermot Weld has twice won the race for Ireland and he has entered Pale Mimosa and Voleuse De Coeurs while Willie Mullins could send Ascot Gold Cup second Simenon to Australia.
Aidan O'Brien has a clutch of entries with Ernest Hemingway, Foundry and Leading Light and Johnny Murtagh has a possible in Royal Diamond.
Dunaden, winner of the race in 2011, has been entered once again by Mikel Delzangles with John Hammond's Hammerfest, Andre Fabre's Only A Pleasure, Trevieres and Alain de Royer-Dupre's Verema in the French challenge.
Some familiar ex-British runners also feature in the contenders with the Queen's Carlton House, now trained by Gai Waterhouse and Robert Hickmott's pair of 2011 St Leger hero Masked Marvel and last year's Great Voltigeur winner Thought Worthy.
Another former British-trained horse Green Moon won the Melbourne Cup for Hickmott last year and he is entered to defend his title while Bart Cummings, who has won the race 12 times, has one entry in Precedence, who he trains in partnership with his grandson James.
Racing Victoria's Greg Carpenter is delighted with the calibre of the 135 entries for this year's race.
"The Emirates Melbourne Cup is the world's premier staying race and the quality of the local and international entries for this year's race is outstanding," he said.
"To have the past two winners in Green Moon and Dunaden, together with representatives from most of Europe's premier stables, amongst the nominations is testimony to the stature of the Melbourne Cup on the world stage.
"For the first time in the Cup's history, internationals account for more than 20% of the total entries and the number of Northern Hemisphere-bred entrants has risen above 50% which best illustrates the internationalisation of the race over the past two decades.
"Whilst the quality of the international nominees is impressive, we're equally pleased with the depth of talent amongst the locally-trained entrants which includes three of the first four home in last year's Melbourne Cup - Green Moon, Fiorente and Kelinni."