Racing Victoria Chasing Royal Ascot Runners

If history is anything to go by several spring carnival contenders will emerge from Royal Ascot this week.

Racing Victoria Chasing Royal Ascot Runners

If history is anything to go by several spring carnival contenders will emerge from Royal Ascot this week.

Racing Victoria is again looking to continue a long history of attracting leading horses and stables from Europe to Melbourne.

Since Irish great Vintage Crop became the first overseas raider to claim the Melbourne Cup in 1993 the spring carnival has featured 202 appearances by international horses.

RV’s International Recruitment Officer Leigh Jordon expects more contenders to emerge across this weeks coveted five-day festival.

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“Royal Ascot has traditionally provided some great pointers for the spring carnival and I expect that this year will be no different,” Jordon said.

“It is renowned as one of the strongest race meetings in the world and our aim is to attract the best racehorses and stables to Victoria, so I’ll be watching with great interest to see how our established targets perform and which new contenders emerge.

“History has shown that horses that perform well at Royal Ascot often come over here and are highly competitive, so I’m excited about the week ahead and am looking forward to welcoming another strong contingent of international horses to Melbourne for the carnival.”

Starting with the opening Queen Anne Stakes (1600m), where the favourite Ribchester holds a Cox Plate invitation, Royal Ascot will again serve as a major pointer for many of the carnival’s feature races.

Potential horses of interest running at Royal Ascot this week include Scottish, trained by Charlie Appleby for the Godolphin stable.

Scottish, who finished second in the Caulfield Cup last year and holds an invitation to this year’s Cox Plate, is due to run in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (2000m), one of the feature races on Wednesday.

Three more horses entered in that race also hold invitations for the Cox Plate, headed by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Highland Reel, who ran a place in the 2015 Cox Plate and is currently the joint favourite for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

The two other Cox Plate invitees in the race are Decorated Knight and Mehktaal, trained respectively by Roger Charlton and Jean-Claude Rouget

The 2014 Cox Plate winner Adelaide – then trained by Aidan O’Brien – preceded his Melbourne visit with a runner-up finish in the King Edward VII Stakes (2400m) at Royal Ascot.

And two years ago English stayer Trip to Paris warmed up for his runs in the Caulfield Cup (second) and Melbourne Cup (fourth) with victory in the Ascot Gold Cup (4000m).

Kingfisher, who finished second behind Trip to Paris in the Gold Cup, also lined up at Flemington five months later for the Melbourne Cup.

The winner of the Hardwicke Stakes, which is run over 2400m on Saturday, will receive an exemption for the Caulfield Cup. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Snow Sky won the race in 2015, before finishing fourth in the Caulfield Cup, whilst in 2013 Dandino finished runner-up in both the Hardwicke Stakes and the Caulfield Cup.

Over the past two years, a total of five runners from the Hardwicke Stakes have also gone on to contest the Melbourne Cup, with Beautiful Romance and Exospheric both finishing in the top ten in 2016.

The favourite for this year’s renewal is the Queen’s horse Dartmouth, winner of the race last year.

The King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) on Tuesday and Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) – respectively the fifth and sixth legs of the Global Sprint Challenge – could have a significant impact on the Darley Classic at Flemington on November 11.

“We will be issuing invitations to the winners of both the King’s Stand and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes to compete in the spring carnival,” said Jordon.

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