World renowned Irish jockey Johnny Murtagh says Australians who want to limit the number of international runners in the Melbourne Cup are wrong.
The idea about restricting international runners in the $8 million Melbourne Cup to invitees only has been a hotly debated topic.
Five-time Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Lee Freedman says the race has become "the anywhere else other than Australia Cup", arguing international competitors should be invited to participate.
The idea has been rejected by several leading figures in the racing industry including owner Nick Williams, whose father Lloyd Williams is the most successful owner in the race's history with six wins.
Speaking to 3AW radio before the big race, Murtagh said the Melbourne Cup’s standing as one of the world’s most famous races would suffer from a reduced international presence.
“You Aussies are a sporting nation,” Murtagh told 3AW at Flemington.
“You can’t say you’ve got the best race in the world and then keep it all to yourselves!
“You have to open it up, embrace the international challenge.
“I think it’s only going to be good for the sport in the long run.
“It’s only getting bigger and bigger every year and back in Europe it’s one of the big ones you want to win.”
Mr Williams, who has three runners in Tuesday’s race, insisted that much of the lure around the Melbourne Cup stems from the quality of the horses competing.
"If we're going to 'cap' the runners that come we're going to have to fill up the race somehow and what that's going to do is it's going to increase the tail of the race because the horses that get in won't be good enough," he told reporters on Sunday.
"I think that will take away from what the race has become - the race is the best two-mile race in the world and I think we've got to embrace that for what it is."
Punter’s crazy bet on $101 Melbourne Cup outsider
A horse racing fan is hunting a monster payday after placing $2,500 on thoroughbred Sound at the Melbourne Cup.
Despite the guides and the experts placing Finche and Mer De Glace as early favourites, one punter is searching for a $252,500 payday after placing $2,500 on Sound at $101 odds.
It would certainly be an astonishing victory for the thoroughbred who has struggled since coming over from Germany last year.
The 53.5kg thoroughbred recently finished 10th in the Caulfield Cup, but struggled in the 2018 Melbourne Cup.
However, jockey James Winks and trainer Michael Moroney are hoping Sound has enough in the tank to take home the prestigious trophy.
Another punter also placed $1,000 on Neufbosc at $101.
TAB bets of note placed today on the #MelbourneCup at @FlemingtonVRC (post time 3pm AEDT):— TABcomau Media (@tabcomaumedia) November 4, 2019
$10,000 @ $9 Mer De Glace
$8,000 win / $7,000 place @ $26/$7.25 Master Of Reality
$7,000 @ $8 Finche
$3,500 @ $9.50 Constantinople
$2,500 @ $101 Soundhttps://t.co/pT2oJlUzoZ pic.twitter.com/3I7XywwDHp
$2500 @ $101 on Sound?? lol he must love donating money— A (@DEFIANCE_187) November 4, 2019