Edited from press release--
Final declarations are in for the 2005 Melbourne Cup and only a handful of International contenders remain in the field for the historic two-mile, group I event. English invader Carte Diamond was the last to drop out after a freak accident in a morning workout yesterday.
Last year's runner-up, Vinnie Roe, trained by Dermot Weld, looks like the best chance for the foreign contingency. This will be his third Cup in a row and he should not face any unexpected challenges that many other first-time Cup starters may face.
Globetrotting trainer Michael de Kock has also set his sights on Australia's biggest race this season and has arrived with South African charge Greys Inn (USA), who has since prepped in the Cox Plate (Aus-I).
Japanese conditioner Izumi Shimizu debuted his Cup contender, Eye Popper (JPN), last week in the Caulfield Cup with a gallant second at big odds. Two time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva will be the target for all of the runners next Monday night if she chooses to go postward in search of an unprecedented third win. She is coming off a brilliant victory in the Cox Plate last Friday night, and connections will wait until later in the week before confirming her entry for the Cup.
For the first time, this year's Melbourne Cup race (Race 7A Monday, Oct. 31) will accept advance wagering beginning Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. EDT.