Tuesday saw the nominations deadline for the ‘big three’ Spring Carnival events.
After travel restrictions and tough veterinary policies kept many overseas horses away last year, local trainers once again should be preparing for a tough assault this time around.
While the numbers aren’t as big as first thought, the internationals are back.
43 Overseas Horses Nominated for Melbourne Cup
International trainers have nominated 87 horses for the Carnival’s big three races.
32 have been named for the Caulfield Cup, 43 are in the Melbourne Cup (see here the list of horses that will compete in the Melbourne Cup) and another 12 are entered up in the Cox Plate. That is a 59-horse and 210% increase on entries for those three races last year.
The numbers could have been so much stronger too. Racing Victoria is once again without the much-anticipated Japanese runners owing to various issues.
It seems Aidan O’Brien is set to return with a vengeance, however it’s a mixed bag from top owners Godolphin. The boys in blue have nominations from the Saeed bin Suroor stable, but once again not so much from top trainer Charlie Appleby’s yard which is a real shame.
After many boycotted the Carnival last year, Racing Victoria decided to remove the rule that required overseas horses to undergo invasive scintigraphy. This is a test to find potential bone issues.
Scintigraphy is no longer compulsory, with vets instead performing assessments pre-race. Stable vets are to supply health history, x-rays and the like. Scintigraphy is now the exception, not the rule.
Potential Overseas Runners
Just 15 international runners were nominated for last year’s Melbourne Cup. This year, some 43 feature among the grand total of 186 entries announced on Tuesday.
There is clear intention from Aidan O’Brien, Joseph O’Brien and Saeed bin Suroor to have one or more runners. Regardless of the trainer, there are some key horses here representing great form lines especially in the UK and Ireland.
Aidan O’Brien’s Changingoftheguard and Charlie Fellowes’ Grand Alliance have close form together. Cleveland and Falcon Eight represent the form of the Chester Cup for the last two years.
Master Of Reality could be back for more, while Deauville Legend gave weight away to and finished ahead of Gai Waterhouse’s $2m purchase Hoo Ya Mal recently at Glorious Goodwood.
Mojo Star has top staying form, while with a good weight Valley Forge would be interesting. Brian Ellison’s Tashkan is top class when getting the right ground, too.
Roger Varian is a trainer of great interest, so watch out for his Eldar Eldarov. That horse is in the St Leger, and is joined in the nominations by stablemate Nagano.
It seems the work RV have done with Aidan O’Brien has worked, but Charlie Appleby is taking more convincing. He has nominated only one horse for the Carnival this time. A decision hasn’t been made on Nations Pride running in the Cox Plate, but hopefully will come soon.
Read more news about the Melbourne Cup.