Spring Cups nominations revealed
A total of 140 horses are in contention for the $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup, while 142 names make up the list of those vying for the $3.15 million BMW Caulfield Cup after first nominations closed on Tuesday.
No fewer than 33 Northern Hemisphere-trained horses are nominated from 20 stables across the two Cups - 22 in the Caulfield Cup, and 31 in the Melbourne Cup.
There were few surprises as Ebor Handicap winner Nakeeta, Grand Prix de Deauville winner Tiberian, Belmont Gold Cup winner Red Cardinal, Irish St Leger Trial winner Order Of St George, Prix de Kergolay winner Marmelo (both Cups), and Curragh Cup winner Rekindling (both Cups) headlined the Melbourne Cup nominees to be in the mix to travel.
Also entered in both Cups were Hardwicke Stakes runner-up Barsanti and two of Willie Mullins' previous Cup runners Wicklow Brave and Max Dynamite, while Japanese stayer Albert is entered to potentially race on the first Tuesday in November.
"We're delighted with the nominations for this year's Caulfield and Melbourne Cups with international representation once again very strong. To have entries from seven international jurisdictions for our two premier handicaps is a great advertisement for the Spring Racing Carnival and Victorian racing," said Racing Victoria EGM of Racing Greg Carpenter.
"I am very encouraged by the number of international trainers with entries who have not travelled to Melbourne before and we look forward to welcoming them here and showcasing what the Spring Racing Carnival has to offer.
"From an Australasian perspective, it is great to see 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin back among the entries along with Who Shot Thebarman, who is nominated for his fourth Cup, after running third (2014), 10th (2015) and fifth (2016). They are among 10 starters from the 2016 Cup to nominate once again.
"This month's impressive P.B. Lawrence Stakes winner Hartnell heads the entries for the Caulfield Cup and we'd be delighted if James Cummings and Godolphin took up the challenge this year after electing to contest the Cox Plate last year in which he finished runner-up to Winx."
Melbourne Cup nominations are up 16 from 124 last year, however, Caulfield Cup numbers have dropped 28 from 170 - due to the nomination date closing weeks later than usual, with Racing Victoria wanting to align the dates for both Cups.
Among the New Zealand horses in the mix to contend for both Cups include cult figure Gingernuts, Chocante - who is set to run against Winx in Saturday's Chelmsford Stakes - and Charles Road.
Meanwhile, Jackie Beriman could yet make some Caulfield Cup history as the first dual-license holder to have a runner in the famous race, nominating Miss Cavatica.
The four-year-old mare has only broken her maiden so far, but does have something in common with last year's Cup winner Jameka, in being sired by Myboycharlie.
Late nominations close on Tuesday, September 5 at midday, fetching a late fee of $2750 for the Caulfield Cup, or $5500 for the Melbourne Cup.
Weights will be declared on Tuesday, September 12. First declarations for the Melbourne Cup are due by midday on October 10 (fee $2640), while the Caulfield Cup first declarations close at midday on September 26 (fee $1200).
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