Melbourne Cup barrier draw: Godolphin runners Hartnell and Oceanographer draw side by side

The key players for Tuesday's Melbourne Cup have all fared well at the barrier draw for the $6 million race that stops a nation.

Hartnell ($5) leads a five-horse assault for the Godolphin racing operation and will start from barrier 12 but could be challenged for favouritism by Oceanographer ($5.50) who drew alongside in 11.

Oceanographer rocketed up Cup betting markets following his impressive win in the Lexus Stakes on Saturday but must face the starter for a third time in 13 days on Tuesday.

Watch out for our full Melbourne Cup field, form guide and sweep on Sunday morning

Charlie Appleby, who trains for Godolphin out of the UK, said he was surprised by the odds disparity between Oceanographer and his stablemate Qewy ($31, barrier 15) who defeated him in the Geelong Cup.

"I'm very surprised because I thought Qewy did as good a performance at Geelong and he's had a nice break and looked great this morning … he's very well-priced," he said.

"Whatever they do from here is a bonus and they go into the race in real good order so I'm hopeful we'll be in there with a shout."

2016 Melbourne Cup field

  1. Big Orange (7)
  2. Our Ivanhowe (6)
  3. Curren Mirotic (18)
  4. Bondi Beach (5)
  5. Exospheric (13)
  6. Hartnell (12)
  7. Who Shot Thebarman (20)
  8. Wicklow Brave (24)
  9. Almoonqith (19)
  10. Gallante (2)
  11. Grand Marshal (9)
  12. Jameka (3)
  13. Heartbreak City (23)
  14. Sir John Hawkwood (14)
  15. Excess Knowledge (21)
  16. Beautiful Romance (1)
  17. Almandin (17)
  18. Assign (22)
  19. Grey Lion (16)
  20. Oceanographer (11)
  21. Secret Number (10)
  22. Pentathlon (4)
  23. Qewy (15)
  24. Rose Of Virginia (8)

Beautiful Romance (1) and Secret Number (10), round out the Godolphin contingent for trainer Saeed Bin Suroor, who has finished runner-up on three occasions.

Trainer Ciaron Maher said he was delighted with the draw for the Caulfield Cup winner Jameka ($7), who passed a veterinary exam on Saturday morning after shifting a shoe during trackwork.

"I've just been rapt with her preparation, she's improved every start and I really do think she could [win it]," he said.

"She's in super order … and hopefully she shows the same turn of foot that she's shown in the Caulfield Cup."

English trainer Michael Bell was another man happy with the draw for his horse Big Orange (7), who is out to improve on his fifth placing last year.

"He ran a great race last year and he was really only a boy and he's developed into a man now, his form's improved and he's got a significantly better draw," he said.

"The fact he has got topweight is not so relevant given his physique and we just pray for the track to run like it did today and he'll run a big race."

But two overseas raiders certainly given a visitors' draw were Heartbreak City and Wicklow Brave who will start from 23 and 24 respectively.

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) committee earlier discussed whether to demote outsider Rose Of Virginia from the field following her poor performance in the Lexus Stakes.

"The issue that we always turn our minds to is whether there's a horse in the field, particularly low down in the order of entry, that's so badly out of form that it doesn't warrant a place in the race," committee chairman Michael Burn said.

"But we felt that there wasn't a compelling case to put the number 25 up into the field and take anything above it out."

Vengeur Masque, Tom Melbourne and De Little Engine missed out on a run but are eligible for a $100,000 bonus if they win next Saturday's Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2,500m).