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* Defending champion carrying topweight (58kg) with English star Snow Sky

* Trying to join Makybe Diva (2003, 2004, 2005), Think Big (1974, 1975), Rain Lover (1968, 1969), Peter Pan (1932, 1934) and Archer (1861, 1862) as multiple Cup winners

* “I’d have to say this is my 11th Cup, so the 10 that I’ve done, I don’t think visually there has been as impressive a winner as Protectionist last year.”


* Highest rated horse in Cup (122nd internationally)

* Won coveted Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot

* Would be first Melbourne Cup runner for Saudi prince and Juddmonte Farms owner Khalid Abdullah, best known for racing champion Frankel

* Also trainer Sir Michael Stoute’s first trip to Melbourne since Distinction’s 2005 Cup run

* “He’s one of the best horses in Europe. Whether or not he runs in the Caulfield Cup on the way to the Melbourne Cup will be an interesting aspect to look at. I’m really pleased that he’s definitely travelling.”


* Original topweight hasn’t won since Comic Court in 1950

* None of the 22 original topweights since have placed

* “Since the race went metric in 1972 only Think Big with 58.5 and Makybe Diva with 58 have been able to win the race with that sort of weight.”


* Three-time runner-up

* Fifth run in a row; third horse to do that in Cup history

* “It certainly gives him a chance to be top five again if he can win it. I’d love to see him win it but whether or not he can I’m not quite sure.”


* Won Irish St Leger by 11 lengths

* Last Irish St Leger winner to win Cup was Vintage Crop in 1993; six have tried since then

* “I’d love to see an Irish St Leger winner.”


* Japan’s nominal Cup favourite

* Second Japanese entrant Hokko Brave

* “There is no doubt that both of the Japanese stayers are world class. Obviously I think that both can be very much big players in the finish of the Melbourne Cup.”


* BMW winner

* Leads powerhouse Godolphin operation’s pursuit of a maiden Melbourne Cup victory

* “Between Hauraki and Hartnell, Godolphin might get their first Cup winner from a John O’Shea stable rather than from the international team.”

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