The international presence at the spring carnival is set to flow into the Cox Plate this year, with British trainer Ed Dunlop confirming recent stable addition Unbridled Command will be aimed the $3 million race.
On Thursday Unbridled Command was one of 20 international horses issued an invitation by the Moonee Valley Racing Club to the $3 million race and Dunlop has confirmed his charge will be taking part.
“He has been bought to try and win the Cox Plate,” Dunlop told Racing Victoria.
Unbridled Command is yet to step out for Dunlop, having previously raced in the USA where he won the Hollywood Derby last November.
Another key result was a third-place finish behind US topliner Point Of Entry and international superstar Animal Kingdom in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.
A change in ownership saw Unbridled Command transferred to Dunlop and put a trip to Australia firmly on the agenda.
“It is not a race which fits particularly well into a normal European horse’s campaign as there are so many other options but he has been bought by an Australian owner and two Americans have stayed in him,” Dunlop said.
Dunlop is already familiar with Australian racing after preparing Red Cadeaux for two Melbourne Cups including a runner-up finish to Dunaden in 2011.
International horses have had a strong presence in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups but the Cox Plate has remained mainly a local affair.
Of the 20 horses issued invites, Qatari-owned Trade Storm is considered a likely starter while Hong Kong trainer John Moore has expressed his desire to bring triple Group 1 winner Military Attack to Australia.