Ireland is well represented among the 87 entries for the world’s richest handicap over 2400m, the AUD $5.15 million Stella Artois Caulfield Cup next month, with horses trained by Aidan O’Brien, Joseph O’Brien and Willie Mullins among the early entries.
The 2019 Investec Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and his stablemates Armory, last year’s Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes winner Magic Wand and 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby winner Santiago are the Aidan O’Brien-trained first acceptances for the Caulfield highlight next month.
Last year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) fourth placer Master Of Reality, is one of four first acceptors from the Joseph O’Brien stable, along with Buckhurst, Pondus and Twilight Payment.
The 2019 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) winner True Self stands her place in the Caulfield Cup first acceptances for Ireland’s National Hunt champion trainer, Willie Mullins, but stable companion Stratum will bypass the Caulfield Cup and instead head straight to the Melbourne Cup.
There are 12 internationally-trained horses at the first acceptance stage, as the international presence has seen an increase on the past three years, with 10 raiders amongst the first acceptances in both 2019 and 2018, and seven in 2017.
The overall number of first acceptors for the 2020 Caulfield Cup, which takes place at Caulfield on Saturday, 17 October, has also risen on the figures in past years with 74 (2019), 83 (2018) and 70 (2017) having previously stood their ground.
Of the Australian-trained horses, Orderofthegarter, formerly handled by Aidan O’Brien at Ballydoyle, retains his place in the acceptance list having won his way into the AUD $5.15m showpiece courtesy of his victory in last Saturday’s Catanach’s Jewellers MRC Foundation Cup (2000m). The seven-year-old, who will be ridden in the Caulfield Cup by rising star Jye McNeil, will aim to give his trainer Danny O’Brien a second win in the race while his high-profile stablemates Russian Camelot and reigning Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) winner Vow And Declare are also amongst the first acceptances.
Mirage Dancer, who finished third for the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young training partnership in 2019, will be aiming to go two better this time around whilst Chris Waller’s seven-strong team of first acceptors includes multiple Group 1-winning mare Verry Elleegant.
Second acceptances for the Caulfield Cup will close on Tuesday, 6 October 2020.