Australia’s premier staying races, the $5.15 million Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2,400m) and the $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3,200m), have attracted an array of world class nominations with horses from Ireland, Britain, France, Germany and Japan joining Australasia’s best when entries closed.
The 142nd Caulfield Cup, the world’s richest 2400-metre turf handicap on 19th October at Caulfield, has attracted 143 entries including 25 internationally trained horses, while the 159th Melbourne Cup, to be run at Flemington on 5th November, has received 152 entries including 39 internationally trained horses.
The headline stories among the entries include the first seven horses home in the 2018 Melbourne Cup, won by the Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter from fellow British raiders Marmelo and Prince of Arran, with all nominated for the 2019 edition of the race.
After victories by Northern Hemisphere three-year-olds in the past two Melbourne Cups, 13 have been entered for this year’s race and eight for the Caulfield Cup including recent Royal Ascot winners Dashing Willoughby and South Pacific and Geoffrey Freer Stakes winner Technician.
Irish champion trainer Aidan O’Brien has made eight and 11 nominations respectively for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, with reigning English St Leger champion Kew Gardens arguably the pick of his team.
Mustajeer, who will be trained by Kris Lees when he arrives on Australian soil on 28th September, came into Melbourne Cup calculations with his victory in the Ebor Handicap at York.
Saeed bin Suroor’s Red Galileo, David Elsworth’s Desert Skyline, progressive four-year-old Raymond Tusk, trained by Richard Hannon, and Roger Varian’s tough seven-year-old Barsanti are also amongst the international nominations for the Melbourne Cup after chasing home Mustajeer in the Ebor Handicap.
Joining them among the entries for the Melbourne Cup is superstar Japanese mare Lys Gracieux who has accepted an invitation to compete in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2,040m) at The Valley on 26th October.
Top Australian owner Lloyd Williams is well represented in both cups as he chases a seventh Melbourne Cup success.
Williams’ international nominations include Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby winner Latrobe, prepared by Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Joseph O’Brien, and his stablemate Master Of Reality, who ran a great race when third to Europe’s best stayer, Stradivarius, in the Ascot Gold Cup (4,000m).
His Australian trainer Liam Howley has 2018 Caulfield Cup runner-up Homesman and last year’’ beaten Melbourne Cup favourite Yucatan, both formerly trained at Ballydoyle by Aidan O’Brien, among Williams’ entries for both races.
Another Caulfield Cup entry of note is Stivers. Bred in Argentina, he is trained by two-time Melbourne Cup winner Dermot Weld.