Friday, 25 May 2012
: An array of international races will be run this weekend with a potential impact on the 2012 Melbourne spring carnival, none more significant than Sunday's Meguro Kinen in Japan.
Photo by Racing and Sports
The 2500m Group 2 race, won in 2006 by Pop Rock before his placing in the Melbourne Cup, carries ballot exemption for the winner into the 2012 Caulfield Cup.
Champion Australian jockey Craig Williams will ride Universal Bank for the owners of Japan's 2006 Melbourne Cup winner Delta Blues. The field also includes 2011 Melbourne Cup nominee Trailblazer.
It is just one of several international races this weekend featuring potential spring carnival contenders.
Racing Victoria's international recruitment officer Leigh Jordon has reviewed each race
Goodwood (UK) Listed Festival Stakes (2150m): Most of the interest in this race will be on the former Peter Snowden-trained Retrieve who was impressive winning a 2000m handicap at Lingfield by four lengths a fortnight ago.
Haydock (UK) G2 Temple Stakes (1000m): This is a key lead-in to Royal Ascot with defending champion Sole Power and July Cup runner-up Bated Breath the key runners.
York (UK) Listed LLP Grand Cup (2800m): There has been Australian interest in Barbican as a possible Cups horse so he's one to watch. Godolphin's horse Cavalryman, who's been nominated for the Melbourne Cup previously, is the key runner.
Goodwood (UK) Listed Tapster Stakes (2400m): Only a small field of four, but worth noting that Mad Rush (2009) and Holberg (2010) won this race before coming to Melbourne. Sir Michael Stoute's Sea Moon was placed in the Breeders Cup Turf and St Leger so looks the standout this year.
Tokyo (JPN) G1 Japanese Derby (2400m): From a spring carnival viewpoint, probably more of a form reference for 2013, but plenty of interest for Australians with Craig Williams riding Tosen Homareboshi.
Tokyo (JPN) G2 Meguro Kinen (2500m): The key race of the weekend as the winner is free from the Caulfield Cup ballot. Craig Williams is riding Universal Bank for the owners of Melbourne Cup winner Delta Blues so he's a big watch. Trailblazer, who was entered for last year's Melbourne Cup, Danon Ballade, Cosmo Robin and Tokai Paradise are others to be watched closely.
Sha Tin (HK) G1 Champions & Chater Cup (2400m): The past two winners Mr Medici (2010) and Mighty High (2011) have gone on to contest the Caulfield Cup. Ambitious Dragon is a class horse, but very interested in Mighty High's stablemate Dominant who was just that in his lead-up race.
Curragh (IRE) G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup (2100m): Plenty of Australian interest with dual Cox Plate winner So You Think
set to defend his Gold Cup title.
Longchamp (FRA) G1 Prix D'Ispahan (1850m): Last year's winner Planteur and French star Cirrus Des Aigles are two horses at the top of our wish list for this year's Cox Plate so this is an important race. Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Alain de Royer Dupre has Reliable Man engaged.
Longchamp (FRA) G2 Prix Vicomtesse Vigier (3100m): Dunaden was runner-up in this race last year en route to his Melbourne Cup win. Marco Botti's Dubai Gold Cup runner-up Joshua Tree is a big watch, likewise the first two horse's home in the recent Prix De Barbeville, Usuelo and Prairie Star, with the connections of the latter already expressing interest in the Melbourne Cup.
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