Emirates Melbourne Cup preview: Can Godolphin end 17 years of near misses?

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Godolphin's hopes of winning Tuesday's Emirates Melbourne Cup for the first time rest on the shoulders of Sky Hunter and Hartnell in what is arguably the strongest field for 'the race that stops a nation' in modern times. The blend of the best European stayers and their Japanese counterparts pitted against a group of worthy Australian contenders makes this renewal a race with great depth and quality at Flemington on Tuesday. Godolphin's Emirati trainer Saeed bin Suroor has been trying to win the Melbourne Cup for almost two decades, during which time he has saddled three seconds and one third. This year wearing Godolphin's famous blue silks, bin Suroor has Sky Hunter (William Buick) to represent him, coming here off the back of a good second at Newbury (UK) in September.

Saeed bin Suroor

But the other half of the Godolphin attack this year is the more interesting, Hartnell, the mount of James McDonald. This five-year-old gelding has been trained by John O'Shea with the Melbourne Cup in mind. He certainly has the right credentials. He is a Queen's Vase winner over two miles at Royal Ascot as a three-year-old, and after winning the Group 1 BMW at Rosehill last March, he then finished fourth in the Sydney Cup when attempting to lead all the way.

Darren Beadman

Godolphin have long had the Melbourne Cup as a long-term project. The determination of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed to supply runners every year to Australia's showcase race, and his ambition to win it, have never dimmed. Maybe this year that interest will be rewarded. OTHER CONTENDERS Fame Game, a grand stayer from Japan, is the much-fancied favourite although Trip To Paris can't be discounted and showed his immense potential in the Caulfield Cup. Max Dynamite is another to watch as is the incredible Red Cadeaux, who is running for the fifth time, having finished runner-up on three occasions. He looks as well as ever and, at 10 years, he attempts to become the oldest horse in the 155-year history of the race, to win it. The wait is almost over. Listen to all the build-up on Tuesday's Business Breakfast before we bring you live coverage of the Emirates Melbourne Cup from 8am.

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