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RacingBetter News
Saturday 11th August 2018
Who are the Leading British Trained Contenders for 2018 Melbourne Cup?

2014 Super Saturday at Flemington racecourse by PreciousBytes, on Flickr
"Flemington racecourse is home of the Melbourne Cup" (CC BY 2.0) by PreciousBytes

While a British trained horse is yet to win the 2m Group 1 Melbourne Cup held on the first Tuesday in November at Flemington racecourse in Victoria, Australia it’s not been for a lack of trying.

Things could be different this year as a number of classy sorts may be sent Down Under for a crack at the race which stops a nation. As one of the richest handicaps in the Flat thoroughbred calendar, here are the leading British contenders in the 2018 Melbourne Cup.


Beckhampton maestro Roger Charlton trains a strong fancy for the spoils in the shape of the Tony Bloom owned five-year-old Withhold, who has already landed valuable prizes for stayers. Prominent runs in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket last season and then following up in Newcastle’s Northumberland Plate this summer without racing in between is a big achievement.

Withhold is a top-notch handicapper who heads the ante post Melbourne Cup betting online at a best-price 14/1 with bet365. If able to reproduce his latest outing where he made all and was allowed to dictate the pace, then hes’s going to be tough to beat, but owner Bloom could also send Willie Mullins inmate Stratum to Australia – provided that one can get in and do well in the Ebor at York.


Last year’s St Leger third Stradivarius has taken his form to a new level for Newmarket trainer John Gosden. He has come out this season and landed the Yorkshire Cup, Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and retained the Goodwood Cup at the glorious meeting.

Those are some of the most prestigious Group races for stayers in the British Isles and – should he also win the Lonsdale Cup at York towards the end of August – Stradivarius is closing in on a £1,000,000 bonus for owner Bjorn Nielsen. If he does that, then there’s nothing in the UK left worth winning and Gosden has admitted he is tempted by a Melbourne Cup tilt for which his charge is a 20/1 chance.

Cross Counter

Charlie Appleby is retained trainer to powerful owners Godolphin and the team sporting their famous all-blue silks are having quite the season. Cross Counter broke the course record when landing the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and, as three-year-old is a gelding, he cannot run in the final Classic of the season – the St Leger at Doncaster.
That means an alternative target is called for and connections revealed their long-term plan was to take him Down Under and try the 2m test at Flemington if he gets in. Cross Counter’s rapid improvement underlines his claims and he’s a top-price 25/1 shot with bookmakers in the Melbourne Cup betting at this stage.


Hughie Morrison’s Marmelo is skipping the Ebor and heading straight Down Under having posted some of the leading stayers form in France this season. As a narrowly beaten neck second to Vazirabad in a Group 2 on his return to action at Longchamp, that has been advertised by both the winner and runner-up.

Vazirabad chased Stradivarius home in the Ascot Gold Cup, while Marmelo himself has come out and won twice since including another Group 2 at the home of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Marmelo is trading around 20/1 with most firms for the 2018 Melbourne Cup and was ninth in the race last year, but should give a better account of himself this time around.