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Overseas interest high in spring features

3 minute read

Significant increase in international entries for spring features.

Trainer : JOSEPH O'BRIEN. Picture: Pat Healy Photography

Racing Victoria is looking forward to a Spring Carnival with increased international involvement following Tuesday's release of nominations for three of Australia's biggest races.

Aidan O'BrienJoseph O'Brien, Charlie Appleby and Saeed Bin Suroor Suroor are among the trainers represented in the nominations for the $8 million Melbourne Cup (3200m), $5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) and $5 million Cox Plate (2040m).

Of the 186 horses entered for the Melbourne Cup, 43 are from the Northern Hemisphere – an increase of 28 on last year – while Caulfield Cup international entries are up from nine to 32 with the Cox Plate tripling from four to 12.

The increase comes on the back of the lessening of Covid restrictions and Racing Victoria tweaking the scanning process for horses required to compete during the Melbourne spring.

"The numbers this year are back to pre-Covid levels, which is pleasing to see," RV's general manager – racing operations and international Bloodworth said.

"This year we've received 87 nominations and last year there were 29.

"It's a dramatic jump and I think we can expect to see an increase in the number of (overseas) horses we see compete in our three marquee races this year."

Last year's Caulfield Cup did not have an international runner, State Of Rest won last year's Cox Plate as the lone Northern Hemisphere galloper, while Spanish Mission (third) and Twilight Payment (11th) were the only Melbourne Cup representatives.

O'Brien has nominated six horses for the Melbourne Cup, including Changingoftheguard, Point Lonsdale and Aikhal, the latter two of whom are also nominated for the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate.

The progressive Stone Age, a four-year-old by Australian time, has been nominated for both the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate.

Appleby does not have an entry in either of the Cups, but has nominated Nations Pride for the Cox Plate, the same race bin Suroor is eyeing off with Real World, who has been runner-up to Baaeed at his past two starts.

Of the locally-trained entries, Duais heads markets in both Cups for Edward Cummings, who is hoping to provide the family with a 14th Melbourne Cup after 12 victories by his grandfather Bart Cummings and one by Bart's father Jim.

Zaaki, Anamoe and I'm Thunderstruck headline local Cox Plate entries, which also include last year's winner, the Joseph O'Brien-trained State Of Rest.

Total Melbourne Cup nominations were up 12 on last year, which made it the biggest set of entries since 2012, while Caulfield Cup nominations were virtually identical to last year – 169 to 170 – with Cox Plate entries down slightly from 153 to 135.

Entries also closed on Tuesday for the two 1600m Group 1 Guineas races at Caulfield in spring with a whopping 324 entries for the $3 million Caulfield Guineas (46 up on last year) and 241 fillies in the running for $1 million Thousand Guineas success, down eight on last year.

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