3 Nov 2015

Excitement builds at 2015 Melbourne Cup

4:59 pm on 3 November 2015

Punters are gearing up for the Melbourne Cup, with five New Zealand horses running.

Glen Boss rides the Who Shot Thebarman to victory in The Bart Cummings at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne on 4 October 2014.

Glen Boss rides Who Shot Thebarman to victory in a different race at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne a little over a year ago, on 4 October 2014. Photo: AAP

The TAB's clear favourite is Japanese-trained Fame Game, but three New Zealand-bred runners are believed to have a top chance at Flemington.

They are: Criterion, owned by Sir Owen Glenn and ridden by New Zealander Michael Walker; Who Shot Thebarman, which is owned by the O'Leary brothers and came third last year; and Preferment, sired by Zabeel and trained by expatriate New Zealander Chris Waller.

Listen live to RNZ's coverage of the Melbourne Cup

The other two New Zealand-bred horses competing are Gust of Wind and Prince of Penzance.

The O'Leary brothers - Dan, Michael, Shaun and Humphrey - have about 200 family members and friends in Melbourne to support Who Shot Thebarman. Shaun O'Leary said they were at the racecourse for a win.

"It's getting very exciting. Everyone's getting hyped up. I think they just enjoy our social life, and coming over to support us," he said

"It's not hard to support a good horse and they want to drink out of the cup, I think."

The race will be the last for retiring New Zealand jockey Jim Cassidy.

The last New Zealand-bred horse to win the cup was Efficient in 2007.

New Zealand-bred runners

Bred and owned by expatriate New Zealand businessman and philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn, Criterion is a four-time Group 1 winner in Australia (Caulfield Stakes, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, BM Australian Derby, Rosehill Guineas) and will be ridden by colourful Kiwi jockey Michael Walker.

The O'Leary brothers - Dan, Michael, Shaun and Humphrey - own the 2014 Group 1 Auckland Cup winner, who is trained by expatriate New Zealander Chris Waller. The seven-year-old was bred by White Robe Lodge's Brian and Lorraine Anderton in North Taieri, Mosgiel. This will be Who Shot Thebarman's second tilt at the Melbourne Cup after finishing third in the 2014 edition of the great race.

Sired by the great Zabeel, who passed away in September, Preferment is bred to stay the 3200m distance and is at good odds to join three of Zabeel's progeny (Efficient 2007, Jezabeel 1998, Might and Power 1997) as a winner of the Melbourne Cup. He is also trained by expatriate New Zealander Chris Waller and was bred in Cambridge by Mrs B M & L J Anselmi, Sir Patrick & Lady Hogan and Mrs H M & M J Moran.

The New Zealand-bred daughter of Darci Brahma is trained by former Matamata trainer John Sargent and is Sir Owen Glenn's second runner in Tuesday's race. She defeated Cox Plate winner Winx in the Australian Oaks in April this year.

Bred in Matamata by Rich Hill Stud, Prince of Penzance is an 80-1 outsider in the big race. Michelle Payne, the only female jockey in the race, takes the ride on Prince Of Penzance.

Kiwi jockeys

Kiwi trainers

- Betting information from TAB

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