Seven internationally-trained stayers are among 93 horses still in contention for the 2013 Caulfield Cup (2400m) after the first acceptances for the $2.5 million race were released by Racing Victoriatoday.
Dandino, Red Cadeaux, Simenon and Forgotten Voice were all expected to be included in the first acceptances but connections of 2012 Irish St Leger winner Royal Diamond and French stayer Now We Can appear to have changed their plans, with both now a chance to arrive in Melbourne on September 28 ahead of the Caulfield Cup on October 19.
Royal Diamond was considered a strong chance to come to Australia to contest the Melbourne Cup (3200m) but trainer Johnny Murtagh (who holds dual licenses in the United Kingdom and Ireland) said he will not make any final decision until the King’s Best gelding defends his title in the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2816m) at Curragh on September 15.
Now We Can was pegged as a Melbourne Cup contender after his impressive win in the Group 2 Grand Prix De Chantilly (2400m) in France in June but was not among the horses included in the nominations for ‘the race that stops a nation’, which were released last week.
Racing Victoria revealed on their Twitter page that the plans for the Martillio entire will not be finalised until the end of the week but indicated that a late entry for the Melbourne Cup was unlikely, with the Caulfield Cup set to be his only target if connections choose to make the trip to Australia.
The most notable non-acceptors for the race were the Gai Waterhouse-trained duo of Carlton House and Michelangelo.
Michelangelo has failed to fire since arriving in Australia and he has not beaten home a single runner in two barrier trial appearance as well as his first-up run in the Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 31.
The Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) appears to now be the major 2013 Spring Racing Carnival target for Carlton House who has impressed in two barrier trial performances, including a victory over fancied stablemate Fiorente, but is yet to be seen at the races this preparation.
The Her Majesty The Queen-owned entire was expect to contest the Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick last Saturday but according to Waterhouse will return to the races within the next two weeks.
Leading Caulfield Cup contenders Hawkspur, Super Cool, Fiorente, Royal Descent and Jet Away are all still on track to contest the Group 1 event.