With the news that more than half of the 2011 Melbourne Cup field are likely to be international runners the amount of interest in the travellers has sky rocketed in recent days.
Many are eagerly anticipating their first up runs in Australia and for two of them d-day comes this Saturday at Caulfield Racecourse.
Hong Kong based trainer John Moore will unveil two spring hopes on the program, the first a Cup’s contender by the name of Mighty High, the second, Silver Grecian, is going straight to Group 1 level in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
Moore’s son George has been overlooking the horses progress at the Werribee Equine Centre and says on both counts things are looking in good order for this weekend.
“There’ doing really well, a lot of the time we bring horses over abroad we have a lot of problems with their weight…but these horses are just working the house down,” he said.
Silver Grecian will need to be on song if he is to hit the ground running at Group 1 level but Moore says he looks up for the challenge.
“He’s done really well, was working really well in Hong Kong, his weights really good and just working the house down at night,” he said.
“If he lives up to his form in Europe he was one of the better two year olds, I think he’s got the ability.
“I couldn’t be happier about the horse, he’s super fit.”
Silver Grecian tailed off slightly towards the end of his last prep but Moore says his European form line and racing pattern is the one we should be looking at for a true indication of ability.
“We gave him a bit of time off in Hong Kong, he’s a completely different horse now,” he said.
“I’m expecting him from the good gate to run really well.
“There’s going to be quite a lot of the speed in the race.”
Moore says he thinks his main threats will be coming from the back of the pack with Smart Missile, Woorim and Blackie all rated highly.
As for Mighty High, he’s the favourite in race three at Caulfield across a 1700m journey.
Like his stablemate though things seem to be ticking along nicely since arriving in Australia.
“I’m pretty happy with the horse, this is a lead up race we’re trying to get some fitness in him,” he said.
“I think he’s favourite in the race and he should run a really nice race, but we’re not going to push him.
“We really want to win the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup.”
While his main aims will be later in the piece, Moore is far from conceding a loss this Saturday.
“I’m very happy with the horse, I think he should almost win the race,” he said.
“He’s the type of the horse that goes to the front and settles and he’s got the last sprint…perfect for a Melbourne Cup horse.”
Both horses are being followed to Australia by ex-pat Aussie rider Darren Beadman who hopes to once again taste the riches of the Melbourne spring racing carnival.