Global interest in Victoria’s Spring Racing Carnival continues to soar with a record number of international entries received for this year’s Caulfield Cup and Sportingbet Cox Plate.
The Caulfield Cup, the world’s richest 2400-metre handicap to be run at Caulfield on 18 October, has received 44 entries from overseas – up from 20 in 2013.
The number of international entrants for the Cox Plate (2040m), Australia’s weight-for-age championship to be run at Moonee Valley on 25 October, has risen from 12 in 2013 to 29 this year.
Nominations for the marquee $3 million races closed with Racing Victoria (RV) at noon today, as did entries for a trio of feature three-year-old races to be run during October’s Caulfield Cup Carnival in the $1 million Group 1 BECK Caulfield Guineas, the $500,000 Group 1 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) and the inaugural $750,000 Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m).
RV’s International Recruitment Officer, Leigh Jordon, was delighted with the international entries, which were received from France, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Ireland and the United Kingdom, and said it was a reflection of the heightened interest in Australian racing from abroad.
“Both the quantity and quality of international entries received for the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate is a mark of the respect and interest that the Spring Racing Carnival and our premier racing now commands on the world stage,” Jordon said.
“It’s a vote of confidence to have training greats like Sir Michael Stoute, Aidan O’Brien and Saeed bin Suroor lodge entries and equally as important to have the next wave of UK trainers like Roger Varian, Marco Botti and Andrew Balding show genuine interest in our premier races.
“The Melbourne Racing Club’s move to increase the total Caulfield Cup prizemoney to $3 million as well as pay prizemoney down to 10th place has been well received by the connections of international horses and we now have the entries to translate into increased participation.
“Similarly, the work the Moonee Valley Racing Club has done in issuing Cox Plate invitations has been significant in attracting entries from some of the world’s best weight-for-age horses, including Hong Kong star Dan Excel who is already in Australia preparing for the race.”
No internationally-trained horse has won the Cox Plate, while Taufan’s Melody (1998, UK), All The Good (2008, UK) and Dunaden (2012, France) are the three international winners of Caulfield Cup.
The total number of horses nominated for the feature events are;
• Caulfield Cup – 221 entries (including 44 internationals) up from 173 in 2013
• Sportingbet Cox Plate – 225 entries (including 29 internationals) up from 158 in 2013
• BECK Caulfield Guineas – 281 entries up from 235 in 2013
• Schweppes Thousand Guineas – 205 entries up from 196 in 2013
All three-year-old horses nominated for either the Caulfield Guineas or the Thousand Guineas, both to be run on 11 October, receive automatic entry into the $750,000 Caulfield Classic, to be run seven days later.
The highlights among the nominations received for the Caulfield Cup include;
• Three Japanese-trained stayers Admire Rakti, Admire Flight and Bande have been nominated paving the way for the first Japanese runner since 2010 (Tokai Trick, 12th);
• UK trainer Marco Botti has 2013 runner-up Dandino and new stable acquisition, 2013 Melbourne Cup placegetter Mount Athos, among five stable entries;
• Recent Group 1 Coral-Eclipse (2000m, UK) winner Mukhadram has been entered as has the three placegetters from last month’s Group 2 Princess of Wales’s Stakes (2400m, UK) – Cavalryman, Hillstar and Pether’s Moon – a race won in 2012 by Fiorente;
• Defending champion Fawkner is one of 12 nominations for Victorian trainer Robert Hickmott alongside 2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon, Sea Moon and recent German acquisition Almandin;
Sportingbet Cox Plate
The highlights among the nominations received for the Sportingbet Cox Plate include;
• Premier Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has four nominations including last year’s USA Breeders Cup Turf (2400m) winner Magician and gifted three-year-old colt Adelaide;
• Four of the 10 internationals issued invitations by the MVRC – Dan Excel, Smoking Sun, Mukhadram and Trading Leather – have been nominated by connections;
• Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller tops the nominations with 15 horses entered including 2013 Emirates Stakes winner Boban and Doncaster Mile hero Sacred Falls;
• Over 50 three-year-olds have been nominated including last season’s Group 1 juvenile winners Almalad (Gai Waterhouse) and Go Indy Go (Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas;
BECK Caulfield Guineas
The highlights among the nominations received for the BECK Caulfield Guineas include;
• Group 1 J.J. Atkins Stakes (1600m) winner Almalad is one of seven nominations for premier Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse;
• Godolphin, previously Darley, have won two of the past three Caulfield Guineas. They have 11 three-year-olds nominated this year for trainer John O’Shea.
Schweppes Thousand Guineas
The highlights among the nominations received for the Schweppes Thousand Guineas include;
• The winners of Sydney’s two-year-old Triple Crown races, Golden Slipper (1200m) winner Mossfun, Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) winner Peggy Jean and Champagne Stakes (1600m) winner Go Indy Go, feature among the nominations;
• February’s Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) winner Earthquake headlines 14 nominations for Godolphin who claimed last year’s race under the Darley banner with Guelph.
First acceptances for all four races will be taken on Tuesday, 9 September, with weights for the Caulfield Cup to be released the week prior on 3 September.