In a race in which the royal blue colours are represented as never before, Oceanographer has drawn alongside Hartnell in 11 with Secret Number in 10.
The recent Geelong Cup winner Qewy has barrier 15 with Beautiful Romance in barrier one.
Trainer John O’Shea said Hartnell, who will be ridden by James McDonald, should get every chance form his gate in the middle of the 24-horse line.
“He’ll be one of the last loaded which is a good thing and James should have every opportunity to get a position,” O’Shea said.
While Hartnell has been in a commanding position in Melbourne Cup discussions for several weeks,
He was joined by the Charlie Appleby-trained Oceanographer whose win in Saturday’s G3 Lexus Stakes earned him a Melbourne Cup start and propelled him into a prominent role among the race’s better prospects.
Appleby was delighted with the draw: “He gets all the options from that gate, I’m satisfied he has his chance.”
Stablemate Qewy has drawn wide, but Appleby believes the gate won’t impede his chances.
“We’ll get plenty of time to work into the race without being bustled,” he said.
With 1000m to the first turn, barriers aren’t vital in the Melbourne Cup, but middle numbers are usually regarded as preferable.
For that reason, Beautiful Romance’s inside gate could play against her.
Nevertheless, trainer Saeed bin Suroor was content with the gets drawn by both of his runner.
“Beautiful Romance is very fit and she has been training very well. Secret Number is drawn better and he has settled in nicely and I think he can run a good race,” Saeed said.
Godolphin had its first Melbourne Cup runner in 1998 when Faithful Son finished fourth.
The stable has had a further 20 runners in 113 Cups since with the best finishers being Central Park who was second in 2000, Give the Slip who was second in 2001 and Crime Scene who was runner-up in 2009.
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