Gai Waterhouse is without a Melbourne Cup runner after withdrawing The Offer from the race she won for the first time with Fiorente.
Waterhouse was unhappy with The Offer’s action after trackwork and announced the former favourite’s defection on Tuesday, a week out from Australia’s most famous race.
The Offer was the long-time favourite for the Cup but has not had a happy spring, finishing out of the placings in four starts.
His withdrawal left stable jockey Tommy Berry without a ride, but only temporarily.
Lloyd Williams was quick to snap him up for either Sea Moon or Amralah.
Sea Moon is in the Cup field but Amralah must either win the Lexus Stakes on Saturday or run in the first three in the Mackinnon Stakes to qualify for a start.
The international presence stands at 11 in the 24 horse field but could rise to 12 if the Andrew Balding-trained Lord Van Percy can win the Lexus with the winner guaranteed a Cup start.
The Roger Varian-trained My Ambivalent was examined by Racing Victoria’s head vet Brian Stewart on Tuesday and given a clean bill of health.
The mare missed the Caulfield Cup with a stone bruise, a problem which proved to be minor.
Dual Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux was also given the once-over by Stewart as was Protectionist.
He said the examination of Protectionist was prompted by reports all was not well with the horse while with Red Cadeaux it was precautionary.
“Because he’s quite an old man now with a little bit of wear and tear, we were just checking all is good,” Stewart said.
He said there were no issues with Protectionist who will be inspected again on Thursday along with the rest of the overseas-trained horses stabled at the Werribee centre.
All other Cup hopefuls will be checked before final declarations on Saturday.
Japanese horse Admire Rakti remains the favourite to add the Melbourne Cup to his Caulfield Cup win.
Protectionist is the second elect ahead of Lucia Valentina who went to Sandown to work on Tuesday with race jockey Kerrin McEvoy aboard.
The Offer’s withdrawal has paved the way for the Mike Moroney-trained Araldo to get a start unless he is ambushed by the winner of the Lexus or Mackinnon.
The David Hayes-trained Unchain My Heart will run in the Lexus to shore up a Cup start with Dean Yendall booked to ride her in the big race at 51.5kg.