The first contingent of international raiders being aimed at Australia’s major spring races took the first steps of their journey yesterday.
Sixteen horses, headed by Melbourne Cup winners Dunaden and Americain, entered pre-export quarantine at Newmarket in the UK where they will spend two weeks before travelling to Australia.
The group fly into Melbourne on September 29 before heading to Werribee for a further two weeks in quarantine.
Joining the former Melbourne Cup winners for his first trip down under is current Cup favourite Mount Athos who has produced convincing victories in his past three starts.
Mount Athos is one of four Luca Cumani-trained gallopers travelling in the first shipment and is joined by Quest For Peace, Ibicenco and Cox Plate hope Afsare.
Other high profile horses arriving in the first group include American St Leger winner Jakkalberry, French stayer Prairie Star and Prix Kergorlay runner-up Brigantin.
They are joined by lesser known travellers Why Not, Energia Elegante, Tac de Boistron and Saghann.
A notable absentee from the first contingent is 2011 Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux who is due to arrive in a second shipment on October 20 with connections choosing to bypass the Caulfield Cup.