Late nominations for a number of the upcoming Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival features have been received by Racing Victoria this week including two New Zealand-trained raiders for the Cox Plate.
Cox Plate, Thousand Guineas and Caulfield Guineas late nominations have seen extended numbers for the three October Group 1 features.
Australasia’s weight-for-age championship, the $3.05 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) originally drew 157 nominees.
The inclusion of Stephen McKee’s New Zealand Derby placegetter What’s The Story and fellow Kiwi visitor Valley Girl have upped the entries.
Savabeel stallion What’s The Story was runner-up to Rangipo in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) beaten just a short half-head back in March.
He then made the trip down under for a shot at Sydney’s Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick during April’s ‘The Championships’.
What’s The Story could only manage to finish a well-beaten sixth behind yet another NZ raider Tavago in the Australian Derby.
The Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-trained ATC Derby winner Tavago is also among the Cox Plate nominations for this year’s edition of the ‘race where champions are made’.
The Cox Plate 2016 takes place at Moonee Valley Racecourse on Saturday October 22.
Takanini-based trainer McKee is out to emulate his father Trevor who made history with his mighty mare Sunline securing back-to-back Cox Plate victories in 1999 and 2000.
The other late Cox Plate entry is the Donna Logan & Chris Gibbs-trained Mastercraftsman mare Valley Girl.
She ran fifth in the NZ Derby against the boys beaten under a length in a blanket-finish after a gutsy run from the outside barrier (18 of 18).
That followed on from her Group 1 Herbie Dyke (2000m) win in mid-February.
After the NZ Derby Valley Girl went to Sydney where she made an instant impression with her second behind Single Gaze at Rosehill Gardens in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m).
Her latest run was on April 9 when sixth, beaten under two lengths, by the Stephen Marsh-trained Kiwi filly Sofia Rosa in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (24000m) over the mile and a half.
Valley Girl is also nominated for the $3 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) this season, the classic held a week before the Cox Plate.
Late Caulfield Cup nominations are open until 12pm (AEST) on Tuesday August 23.
Chris Waller’s reigning Cox Plate champion Winx leads all-in betting for the race through Ladbrokes.com.au at $2.70.
Run on October 8 at Caulfield Racecourse are the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and $500,000 Group 1 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m).
Caulfield Guineas entries are now up to 333 with an additional four three-year-olds making a late nomination.
Among those is the Logan & Gibbs-trained Wyndspelle who won over 1200m at Te Rapa on debut in mid-February and the Robbie Laing-trained Canford Cliffs colt Wimborne.
The Thousand Guineas for the fillies received two late entries with a total of 261 now in the mix.
Newcastle trainer Paul Perry has entered his Uncle Mo filly Conchita who has won two of her four career starts to date, while the unraced local Bernardini filly Kamili represents former top apprentice Nick Ryan.
Cox Plate, Caulfield Guineas and Thousand Guineas first acceptances are open until 12pm (AEST) on Tuesday September 6.