International raiders hoping for a Melbourne Cup miracle

THE connections of international raiders Lost In The Moment, Brigantin and Shahwardi can only keep their fingers crossed and pray their horses get lucky and earn a start in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup.

After second acceptances were taken yesterday, the story wasn't who was still in the running for the race that stops a nation, it was who was out.

With the field restricted to 24 runners, Lost In The Moment, which ran fifth last year, was 26th in the order of entry, Brigantin, which ran an outstanding second in the Prix de Kergolay in France in August, was 27th, and Shahwardi, which won the Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield on October 13, was 29th.

Horses still outside the top 24 can either hope runners ahead of them are withdrawn, or try to qualify by winning the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) or Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday.

Owners of Lost In The Moment, Brigantin and Shahwardi have elected to take the wait and hope path.

They may be encouraged by the fact that after second acceptances were taken last year, the 28th ranked horse was the final runner to secure a berth in the great race, taken out by French champion Dunaden.

Of those outside the top 24, Mourdre (25th) and Geelong Cup winner Gatewood (33rd) have been nominated for both of Saturday's automatic qualifying races, although it would be a major surprise if they ran in the Mackinnon Stakes.

Another French import, Prairie Star (28th), has been nominated for just the Mackinnon Stakes, but would need to improve lengths on his battling fourth in the Group 3 David Jones Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 20 to have a chance.

And Ibicenco (37th), Tanby (31st) and Exceptionally (36th) will take on the Lexus Stakes to try to earn a start in the big race on Tuesday.

Final acceptances for the Melbourne Cup will be taken at 5pm on Saturday.