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 there are some familiar names within the list from Auckland Cup Week 2018.
Both the Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby winner, Vin de Dance, and the Group 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup winner, Ladies First, from 2018's event have been nominated.
Vodafone New Zealand Derby winner for 2018 , Vin de Dance
Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman led the New Zealand charge with five entries for the two-mile feature. In addition to Vin de Dance, they have dual New Zealand Horse of the Year Bonneval, Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) winner Jon Snow, Group Three winner Highlad, and Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) runner-up Zacada.
Fellow Sydney Cup place-getter Sir Charles Road (another Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup runner) 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 aforementioned Allan Sharrock-trained Ladies First, and the John Wheeler-trained Pentathlon, who finished ninth in the 2016 running of the Melbourne Cup.
Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup winner in 2018, Ladies First