19 European-based gallopers will enter quarantine in Newmarket today ahead of their trip to Australia for the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
There are plenty of contenders for the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate that will arrive with on the first planeload of European raiders on September 27 and Johnny Murtagh-trained Mutual Regard will arrive in Australia early to being preparations for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Mutual Regard won the time-honored Ebor Handicap (2816m) at York on August 23 in impressive fashion, but he is still no certainty to earn a place in the Melbourne Cup field and could run in a race like the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 22 or the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) on October 25.
OTI Racing have opted against bringing Gatewood back to Australia, but Renew and Van Percy will both enter quarantine today and remain in contention to contest both the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup.
The pair are no certainties to earn a start in either race and they could both make their Australian racing debuts in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 11.
Last year’s Caulfield Cup runner-up Dandino will be on the first flight to Australia and is a confirmed starter in the Caulfield Cup, while Red Cadeaux will be making his fourth trip to Australia and is a chance of contesting the Caulfield Cup for the first time.
German star Protectionist, Roger Varian-trained mare Ambivalent, Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock-owned Seismos, the lightly-raced Noble Protector and Gai Waterhouse-owned Café Society are other Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup hopefuls that will enter quarantine today.
The Cox Plate featured European-trained gallopers for the first time since 2004 when Side Glance and Mull Of Killough contested the race last year and the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship is set to have a European presence for the second year in a row.
Side Glance has been included in the nominations for both the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate and will arrive in Australia in just over two weeks’ time, while Noble Protector has also been included in the first acceptances for all the major races.
Roger Varian-trained Farraaj is yet to make his debut at Group 1 level, but remains in contention for the Cox Plate.
The Cox Plate remains a target for Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock-owned Guest Of Honour, but he will only go into the race if he performs well in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11.
Rounding out the 19 Spring Racing Carnival hopefuls on the first plane to Australia are Terrubi, Contributer and Manduros Son who will all be prepared by local trainers once they arrive at Werribee.
Contributer will join the Godolphin stable after he scored a strong win in the Listed Wolferton Handicap (2011m) during the Royal Ascot Meeting, while David Payne went to England this weekend to begin preparations with Terrubi.
Manduro’s Son has been purchased by the Michael Moroney stable and has been included in the nominations for the Caulfield Cup, but he would need to win a lead-up race to earn a start in the Group 1 event.
Ambivalent ($21) and Dandino ($21) are the most fancied European-trained runners in the Caulfield Cup betting markets, while Protectionist is available at Melbourne Cup odds of $26.