Aktau had won a golden ticket into the Caulfield Cup but won‘t be making use of it after being scratched on Thursday morning.
The Mike Moroney-trained galloper, who won his way into the $5million Cup with victory in the Mornington Cup earlier this year, is understood to have a tendon issue.
Aktau had been long odds in the Caulfield Cup after finishing last in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes when over-racing.
The Kris Lees-trained Raheen House was first emergency for the Cup and comes into the field with Daniel Moor as the rider.
Moor had been booked for Aktau but quickly picked up the ride on Raheen House, a $201 shot.
Moroney still has Chapada, which won his way into the Cup with victory in the Herbert Power Stakes last Saturday, as a Caulfield Cup contender.
Deposed as Caulfield Cup favourite after drawing barrier 21 in Saturday’s $5 million handicap, Irish star Anthony Van Dyck’s connections will rely on positive recent history and Hugh Bowman’s genius to succeed.
The Epsom Derby winner drew the second widest gate but, after the likely scratchings of four emergencies, Aidan O’Brien’s raider will probably jump from barrier 18.
But there are plenty of recent precedents for overseas gallopers prevailing despite wide alleys.
Dunaden (18), Best Solution (15) and Mer de Glace (17) all defied wide gates to win the Caulfield Cup.
But TAB immediately promoted Verry Elleegant from $5 into $4.50 favouritism as Anthony Van Dyck, the Cup topweight with 58.5kg, eased from $4.50 to $5.
Verry Elleegant will jump from gate 11.
Master Of Wine ($9), trained by Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes, is the only other runner under double figures in one of the most open Cups in years.
Jockey Craig Williams was upbeat after the German gelding landed in barrier seven.
“I’m delighted with barrier draw,” Williams said. “He’s profiled really well for this year’s Cup. “If the rain does come that only enhances his chances as well.”
Racing Victoria stewards said Master Of Wine had overcome a stone bruise in its near front hoof but had not missed any work.
Ben Melham was optimistic after Buckhurst drew nine.
“I’ve had a look at a few of his replays over there. I think he’s got a winnable race and I know they’re very happy with him out at Werribee,” Melham said.
“Nine is a great draw, I’m happy with that. I’m sure we can take a prominent position from that draw.”
Jamie Kah, riding in sizzling form, was crestfallen after dual Melbourne Cup placegetter Prince Of Arran landed in 19.
“Less than ideal but it’s only a barrier,” Kah said. “We’ll probably have to work some magic from there.”
But his trainer Charlie Fellowes, speaking from Newmarket, said “it’s not a disaster, he’s a straight forward horse. A wide draw is not that bad.”
“I’d rather him there than down on the inside,” Fellowes said.
Chasing his fifth Caulfield Cup, Damien Oliver was unmoved by Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare’s draw of 18.
“It (the draw) can be important and after they’ve gone out of the straight, it can be not so important,” he said.
“There doesn’t look to be an abundance of pace but sometimes the race itself can provide that.”
Oliver identified Toffee Tongue as a likely contender.
“She’s drawn well (five) and got no weight and I’d be taking a line through the Turnbull and then you have the Europeans and you have to respect them as well,” he said.
Willie Pike described Dalasan’s gate of 14 as a “little bit sticky and we’ll have to make the best of it.”
“He’s a tough, honest horse and we’ll have to utilise those assets.”
After barrier draw
$4.50 Verry Elleegant
$5 Anthony Van Dyck
$9 Master Of Wine
$15 Toffee Tongue
$17 Dashing Willoughby
$21 Mirage Dancer
$26 Prince Of Arran
Vow And Declare
San Huberto (2E)
$51 Le Don De Vie (4E)
$67 The Chosen One
$201 Raheen House (1E)
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