11/03/2017 11:16AM

Dettori rides defending champ Almandin seeking first Melbourne Cup win


For all his success around the world, jockey Frankie Dettori has never won the Melbourne Cup in 15 attempts.

This year, Dettori will be on a proven horse in Almandin, who won the 2016 Melbourne Cup. The two-mile race on turf at Flemington Racecourse is run on Tuesday in Australia, with a post time of 11 p.m. Eastern on Monday.

Almandin can become the first repeat winner since Makybe Diva, who won three consecutive runnings from 2003-05.

The $4.63 million race is a handicap with a 24-horse field. Hartnell, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Godolphin, will carry top weight of 126.7 pounds. A 33-1 shot in the future book as of Friday, Hartnell was 15th in the 2015 Melbourne Cup and third last year.

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Almandin, who will carry 124.5 pounds, was the 13-2 favorite Friday. Trained by Robert Hickmott, Almandin did not race in the 2016-17 Australia season after the Melbourne Cup.

Almandin won the JRA Trophy at 1 9/16 miles at Flemington on Sept. 16 and was fourth behind Amelie’s Star in the Group 3 Bart Cummings Stakes at 1 9/16 miles at Flemington on Oct. 7.

Marmelo, Humidor, and Johannes Vermeer are three other leading runners in the Melbourne Cup.

Marmelo, who will carry 121.2 pounds, was sent from Europe to Australia for the Melbourne Cup earlier this year. Trained in England by Hughie Morrison, Marmelo won the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay at 1 7/8 miles at Deauville, France, on Aug. 20, and was sixth behind Boom Time in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup at 1 1/2 miles on Oct. 21.

Humidor finished second to Australian Horse of the Year Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate at 1 1/2 miles at Moonee Valley on Oct. 28. Winx is being given a rest following a recent win.

The Cox Plate is Australia’s leading weight-for-age race. The Melbourne Cup will be the first start at two miles for Humidor, who will carry 123.4 pounds.

Johannes Vermeer is Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien’s only chance this year for a first win in the Melbourne Cup. Johannes Vermeer, who will carry 120.1 pounds, has raced twice in Australia in the last month.

Johannes Vermeer was second in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on Oct. 14 and third in the Caulfield Cup at 1 1/2 miles on Oct. 21.