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Aidan O’Brien, Joseph O’Brien, Willie Mullins and England-based Fermoy, Co. Cork-born trainer David O’Meara are among the European handlers with entries among the 174 nominations for the 3,200m 2020 Lexus Melbourne Cup which were released this morning.
The O’Briens alone account for 16 of the 30 internationally trained entrants for the 160th Lexus Melbourne Cup, with 25 Group 1 winners among the entries for the AUD $8 million race.
Joseph O’Brien, who became the youngest person ever to train the winner of “the race that stops a nation” when triumphing with Rekindling in 2017, has entered seven horses, five of which are owned by top Australian owner Lloyd Williams.
The Carriganóg handler’s full list of nominations is Bolleville, Buckhurst, Degraves, Master Of Reality (second past the post last year only to be demoted to fourth following an objection), Patrick Sarsfield, Pondus, and Twilight Payment.
Numerically Aidan O’Brien accounts for most of the overseas entries, with 9 nominations. They include 2019 Investec Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck as well as the 2019 and 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby victors Sovereign and Santiago. The Ballydoyle handler’s team is completed by Cormorant, Dawn Patrol, Mythical, Nobel Prize, Order Of Australia and Tiger Moth.
Ireland’s champion National Hunt trainer Willie Mullins has entered both last year’s VRC Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner True Self and Lonsdale Cup runner-up Stratum, while former jockey and now successful trainer David O’Meara has one nomination in Eagles By Day.
English trainer Andrew Balding’s Dashing Willoughby and Fabrice Chappet’s Australian-owned San Huberto are expected to contest both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup for the first time this year. They could be joined by horses recently acquired by Australian ownership groups: the former Ger Lyons-trained Nickajack Cave, now with Peter Moody, and former Ballydoyle inmates Sir Dragonet, now trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, and Delphi, now handled by Anthony Freedman.
Australian trainer Danny O’Brien, winner of the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup with Vow And Declare, has entered last year’s victor as well as his leading Cup fancy Northern Hemisphere three-year-old Russian Camelot, winner of the South Australian Derby under Cork-born jockey Johnny Allen.
International stables have entered 34 horses for the 143rd Caulfield Cup with 29 individual Group 1 winners among the 177 entries for the AUD $5.15 million Stella Artois-sponsored 2,400m race.
Aidan O’Brien has 13 entries in the Caulfield Cup including six-time Group 1 winner Magical, Japan, Magic Wand and 2019 Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck. His tranche of nominations is completed by Armory, Dawn Patrol, Mogul, Mythical, Nobel Prize, Order Of Australia, Santiago, Sovereign and Tiger Moth.
Joseph O’Brien has the same seven horses entered for the Lexus Caulfield Cup as he has for the Lexus Melbourne Cup, namely Bolleville, Buckhurst, Degraves, Master Of Reality, Patrick Sarsfield, Pondus andTwilight Payment.
The Willie Mullins pair Stratum and True Self are nominated for the Caulfield feature, as is David O’Meara’s Eagles By Day.
Danny O’Brien leads the Australian charge with a number of high-profile horses including Vow And Declare, South Australian Derby winner Russian Camelot, along with Adelaide Cup winner King of Leogrance and VRC Oaks heroine Miami Bound.
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained partnership have the most entries in both races with 19 in the Melbourne Cup and 16 in the Caulfield Cup, with Sydney Cup winner Etah James among those to feature in both, while eight of the top 10 placed horses in the 2019 Caulfield Cup have been entered for a tilt at the race again this year.
Weights for both races will be released on Tuesday, 8 September, with first acceptances for the Caulfield Cup on Tuesday, 22 September and the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, 29 September. Late entries for both races close on Thursday, 3 September.