11/02/2014 4:15PM

Admire Rakti will go as lukewarm favorite in Melbourne Cup


Admire Rakti, the winner of the Group 1 Caulfield Cup on Oct. 18, is a lukewarm 4-1 choice to win Tuesday’s $5,241,600 Melbourne Cup against 23 rivals at Flemington Racecourse.

Admire Rakti, trained by Tomoyuki Umeda, was a stakes winner in Japan and fourth in the 2013 Japan Cup before winning the Caulfield Cup over 1 1/2 miles by a half-length. A 6-year-old horse by Heart’s Cry, Admire Rakti will carry the high weight of 128.7 pounds in the Melbourne Cup over two miles. Zac Purton, who rode Admire Rakti in the Caulfield Cup, has the mount.

The race has taken an international feel in recent years, with an influx of European runners. Protectionist, the winner of the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay over 1 7/8 miles Aug. 24 at Deauville, France; Cavalryman, the winner of the Group 2 Goodwood Cup over two miles July 31 at Goodwood, England; and Red Cadeaux, who was second in the 2013 Melbourne Cup but is winless in four starts in Dubai, England and Japan this year, are part of the field.

The locally based contenders are led by Signoff, Lucia Valentina, and Fawkner.

Signoff won the Group 3 Lexus Handicap over 1 9/16 miles Saturday at Flemington and makes a rapid turnaround. A 4-year-old gelding, Signoff has the lowest weight assignment, 112 pounds.

Lucia Valentina, a 4-year-old filly, was third behind Admire Rakti in the Caulfield Cup and won the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes over 1 1/4 miles Oct. 4 at Flemington.

Fawkner was sixth in the 2013 Melbourne Cup and was second Oct. 25 in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley Racecourse.