Melbourne Cup

Godolphin's long wait for Emirates Melbourne Cup glory can come to end if Hartnell does what is expected of him in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Sheikh Mohammed's richly-assembled team fires five shots across the bows in their relentless pursuit to claim the so-called "race that stops a nation", but Hartnell could hold all the aces for trainer John O'Shea as the locals attempt to fend off a strong European charge, RTE reported.

Despite having finished 15th in the Melbourne Cup last year, the five-year-old gelding has had a much better preparation this season and heads to Flemington in the form of his life.

He admittedly could not live with the gifted Winx in the Cox Plate last time out, but Hartnell still turned in a cracking effort to finish second.

Formerly trained in Yorkshire by Mark Johnston, his supporters will have high hopes a return to this longer trip of two miles will cast him in an even better light.

After all, it must be remembered he won the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot in 2014 over this stamina-sapping trip.

Before his Cox Plate run, Hartnell had knocked off three wins on the spin, the most significant of which was his facile defeat of Jameka in the Group One Turnbull Stakes.

And with that filly having since won the Caulfield Cup, the form looks impregnable.


Channel Seven's website will again broadcast the Melbourne Cup, live. Cup day coverage, including all the lead-up races, starts at 10am (AEDT).

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The Cup has gone truly global, and will be streamed live on Twitter internationally. Just head here at 3pm. This is also the best way to watch from overseas, if you don't have the right internet set-up for the Channel 7 coverage abroad.

Reasonably drawn in stall 12 and well weighted on official figures, James McDonald can be trusted to get keep the Melbourne Cup on Australian shores.

Of the Europeans, perhaps Bondi Beach can take high rank for Aidan O'Brien, who has seemingly had this race in mind for a long while with this one.

The four-year-old colt was badly drawn in the race 12 months ago, but he was only beaten just over six lengths and should be a lot wiser for that experience in the hands of Ryan Moore.

He is also well berthed in trap five.

History is against Jameka, but she should also go well for Ciaron Maher, while Almoonqith rates a fine each-way punt if his fast-finishing fourth in the Caulfiled Cup is taken into account.