The Cox Plate is set to have a European presence for the first time since 2004, with European-based gallopers Maxios, Mull Of Killough, Side Glance and Trevieres all included in the first acceptances for the $3 million Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
The Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) has not had a European-trained runner since German entire Paolini finished tenth behind Savabeel in the 2004 edition of the race but that drought is on track to end as Side Glance, Mull Of Killough and Trevieres will all enter quarantine in the United Kingdom on Thursday ahead of their arrival in Australia on September 28.
Trainer Andrew Balding indicated that he was keen to bring Side Glance to Australia after the Passing Glance gelding finished third behind Real Solution in the Group 1 Arlington Million Stakes (2011m) in the United States last month.
Side Glance has been competitive at the highest level of racing all around the world but is yet to win at Group 1 level and is chasing since first victory since he won the Group 3 Diomed Stakes (1713m) at Epsom Downs last June.
Mull Of Killough also contested the Arlington Million Stakes last month and finished in eighth position.
Like Side Glance, the seven-year-old has competed at Group 1 level in several different countries, finishing fifth behind Military Attack in the Group 1 Singapore International Cup (2000m), and has been victorious at Group 3 level twice in the United Kingdom, winning the 2012 Darley Stakes (1810m) and the 2013 Sefton Stakes (1810m).
Not much is known about French galloper Trevieres who has generally competed in handicap races in Europe and has never taken part in a race at Group level.
The Gold Way gelding was recently purchased by prominent United States racing owners Kevin and Coleen Bamford and will be brought to Australia by French trainer Markus Nigge.
Jonathan Pease-trained Maxios is the other European-trained horse in the mix for the 2013 Cox Plate and is the highest-rated of the four hopefuls, with form around some of the leading gallopers in the world.
The Monsun entire was victorious in the Group 1 Prix D’Ispahan (1850m) earlier this year and finished ahead of 2011 Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden when he finished second behind Pastorius in the Group 1 Prix Ganay (2100m).
Maxios will contest the Group 1 Prix Moullin (1600m) at Longchamps in France on Sunday and, according to Racing Victoria International Consultant Leigh Jordon, will head to Australia if he finishes in the first three in the race.
European-based horses have won both the Melbourne Cup (3200m) and Caulfield Cup (2400m) in recent years but no horse trained outside of Australia or New Zealand has ever won the Cox Plate.