Hartnell still favourite for Melbourne Cup

Locally trained Hartnell remains favourite and the pick of Godolphin’s five runners in the Melbourne Cup after drawing barrier 12 in the 24-horse field.

Hartnell is at $5 for Tuesday’s race ahead of Oceanographer who cemented his place with victory in Saturday’s Lexus Stakes and is at $5.50 after drawing 11.

Oceanographer is one of two Godolphin-owned runners for English trainer Charlie Appleby who will also send Qewy into Tuesday’s 3200m race at Flemington.

Caulfield Cup winner Jameka, who was the equal favourite with Hartnell after that win, has been easy in markets but with barrier three in the 24-horse field she has firmed again from $7.50 to $7.

She threw a slight scare into the Ciaron Maher stable when she shifted a shoe in trackwork but was passed fit by Racing Victoria vets on Saturday.

“Number three is perfect for her and we are very happy with that,” Maher said.

There were no surprises or controversies when the field was declared with Lexus runner-up Tom Melbourne and De Little Engine, who finished fourth in the Lexus, not making the field.

Oceanographer and Qewy will start from barriers 11 and 15 respectively.

Appleby’s team has been the success story among the overseas raiders with Qewy winning the Geelong Cup and Oceanographer third.

The Appleby-trained Scottish ran second in the Caulfield Cup and Francis Of Assisi won the Bendigo Cup and the trainer was happy with both.

‘I’m delighted we’ve got a half-decent draw now,” Appleby said.

“Whatever they do from now on will be a bonus.They’re in really good order.

“I’m hopeful we have a shout.”

Hong Kong-based Chad Schofield will ride Oceanographer while Craig Williams is on Qewy who carries just 50.5kg.

The bottom-weighted horse is Auckland Cup runner-up Rose Of Virginia with 50kg.

She will be ridden by apprentice Ben Thompson from barrier eight and is the outsider in the field at $201.

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