27 Oct 2011

Foreign invaders dominate Melbourne Cup field

8:00 am on 27 October 2011

With final acceptances being announced on Saturday for next Tuesday's Melbourne Cup it's possible there'll be just two Australian-bred horses in the field of 24 as foreign invaders make their presence felt Down Under.

Industry figures across the Tasman blame greed and the emphasis on big-money sprints in the domestic racing calendar for the current Australian crop's lack of staying power.

In the past two decades, overseas trainers have spent a fortune flying horses south in the hope of winning the gruelling 3,200-metre handicap, but only four from outside Australia or New Zealand have succeeded.

Three of them have been in the last decade, including last year's France-trained winner Americain, among the favourites to win again on Tuesday.

A number of Australian clubs race tracks have downgraded their traditional two-mile races to 2,400 metres, including the Perth and Brisbane Cups in recent years.