Imported stayers Shikarpour, Ancient King and Spillway will make their Australian racing debuts in the Listed Golden Mile (1600m) at Bendigo tomorrow.
David Hayes won the 2013 edition of the Golden Mile with Jet Away, who was making his Australian racing debut, and he is hoping to replicate that feat with Spillway, who joined his stable towards the end of 2013.
Spillway made his racing debut in the United Kingdom in 2012 and started the 2013 racing season with three straight victories; taking out handicap events at Kempton Park and Sandown Park.
The Rail Link entire failed to fail in the King George V Stakes (2414m) during the 2013 Royal Ascot meeting, but went on to make his debut at Group level and finished a strong third in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes (2414m) during the Glorious Goodwood Festival.
Spillway produced another strong performance in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes (2414m) at York on August 21, finishing behind Macedon Lodge import Foundry, and had his final European start in the Group 3 The Arc Trial (2217m) at Newbury on September 21.
Joining Spillway in the 2014 Golden Mile field is Italian import Ancient King, who also has form at Group level in Europe.
Ancient King worked through the grades impressive in Italy and was given his maiden opportunity in black-type level races at the start of last year; finishing third in the Listed Premio Pisa Betflag (1609m) and second in the Listed Premio Botticelli (2112m) before rounding out the placings in the Group 2 Italian Derby (2212m).
The best backed imported stayer in the Golden Mile field has been Macedon Lodge import Shikarpour – despite the fact that he only scored one win from five starts when racing in Europe.
Shikarpour made his racing debut with a win in the Prix Des Gobelins (2200m) in Longchamp in May last year and was far from disgraced when fifth behind the highly-rated Intello in the Group 1 Prix Du Jockey Club (2100m) in Chantilly on June 2.
The Dr Fong entire was narrowly denied a maiden win at Group level in the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes (2011m) during the 2013 Royal Ascot meeting and finished his European racing career with fifth place finishes in the Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam (2000m) and the Group 2 Qatar Prix Niel (2400m).
The 2014 Golden Mile is currently a very open betting race; with Tigerland ($5.50) a narrow favourite from Shikarpour ($6.50), Our Hand Of Faith ($7), Bass Strait ($8.50) and Spillway ($9).