Record foreign entries for 2012 Cox Plate
The Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate have appeared on the radar of more foreign trainers than ever this year.
The $2.65 million Caulfield Cup, the world’s richest 2400m handicap race on turf, has attracted 25 overseas entries in an overall nomination of 222, including the past two Melbourne Cup winners Americain and Dunaden.
Dunaden’s trainer Mikel Delzangles has also entered Vadamar and Zack Hall and his French compatriot Alain de Royer Dupre has nominated Shawardi along with Americain.
The new phenomenon of Australian-owned foreign entires is apparent in the Caulfield Cup with seven nominations fitting that category, including the recent Goodwood winner Quest For Peace, Gatewood, Ibicenco and Prairie Star, all owned by OTI Racing.
Prominent among the local nominations is last year’s favourite December Draw who suffered a serious injury in the 2011 race.
Trainer Mark Kavanagh said the horse had recovered well and, most significantly, had put on considerable weight.
“Last year he was a scrawny horse with long hair,” Kavanagh said.
“But he was still good enough to win a string of races and start favourite.”
Kavanagh said the extra weight will allow him to give December Draw a more traditional Cups preparation.
One of the picks of the local entry will be Manighar, the former English galloper who had an outstanding autumn under the guidance of Peter Moody.
The Caulfield Cup is run on October 20 with the Cox Plate a week later.
In the case of the $3 million Cox Plate, a champagne crop of young local gallopers added to the international contingent promise to make this year’s running a vintage one.
Among the 137 Australian entries for the race are the unbeaten pair Atlantic Jewel and Pierro, All Too Hard, the glamour mare More Joyous and the multiple Group One winner Mosheen.
From overseas, the classy English-trained Dubai World Cup placegetter Planteur is nominated, along with the French Derby winner Reliable Man and Master Of Hounds, the fourth placegetter in the Kentucky Derby and a Group One winner in Dubai.
Further entries from Italy and the United States have been received by the Moonee Valley Racing Club which sent personal invitations to the 10 best 2000m horses in the world, including the unbeaten English superstar, Frankel.
Frankel’s owner Prince Khalid Abdullah declined, but Moonee Valley chief executive Michael Browell said the gesture had to be made.
“It was probably never going to happen, but that’s how highly we regard our race,” Browell said.
Racing Victoria’s international recruiter Leigh Jordon says a combination of a high Australian dollar, struggling European economies and the comparatively large rewards offered in Australian racing had been responsible for the record foreign entry.