In a bid to attract some international flavour to the Cox Plate, the Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) has invited 20 of the world’s best-performed weight-for-age gallopers to contest the $3 million race.
While the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup have had strong international representation in recent years, the spring’s third major has remained a predominantly local affair.
Among those invited to contest the weight-for-age championship of Australasia are Hong Kong pair Military Attack and Dan Excel.
Both prepared by John Moore, Military Attack has already been billed as a likely Cox Plate starter. Moore confirmed his intentions to target the race after the five-year-old scored a commanding win in the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup last month.
The talented list of invitees includes gallopers from Hong Kong, the UK, Ireland, France, Japan, South Africa and the USA.
MVRC Chief Executive Michael Browell said the list was developed after careful analysis of international form over the past year.
“The Moonee Valley team has evaluated the international form over the past 12 months and we have agreed on the 20 leading contenders that we believe could win the 2013 Cox Plate,” Browell said.
An invitee familiar to Australian racegoers is French stayer Dunaden who claimed the 2012 Melbourne Cup and last year’s Caulfield Cup.
He is one of four French horses to receive an invite, joined by Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained pair Giofra and Mandour and recent Group 1 winner Maxios.
Among the most high profile horses to receive invites are Britan’s Tattersall’s Gold Cup winner Al Kazeem and last year’s Epsom Derby winner Camelot.
Camelot is one of two Aidan O’Brien-trained horses invited, with the MVRC also putting Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Magician on their wish list.
Over invitees include the Marco Botti-trained Planteur, Hong Kong star California Memory, the Godolphin-owned Farhh and Japanese entire Eishin Flash.