Emerging Japanese apprentice jockey Ryusei Sakai holds The Melbourne Cup , with jockey Corey Brown and trainer Ben Hayes holding the Caulfield Cup at The Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup Nominations at Luminare on August 30, 2018 in South Melbourne, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)
Major increases in prizemoney have delivered a significant uplift in nominations for the Group 1 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) and Group 1 Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) with entries closing today on the eve of the 2018 Spring Racing Carnival.
The Melbourne Cup, which has risen from $6.3 million to $7.3 million in prizemoney this year, has attracted 183 entries – up from 140 in 2017 and the most since the nomination deadline was moved to late August in 2011.
The Caulfield Cup, which has been boosted by $2 million to $5.15 million, has welcomed 164 nominations – up from the 142 received when entries moved to the current deadline in 2017.
In a year in which the Spring Racing Carnival celebrates 25 years of international competition, the number of international entries has also skyrocketed as the world’s best stables eye the riches on offer in Melbourne.
International entries have risen from 31 to 50 for the Melbourne Cup and 22 to 27 for the Caulfield Cup with nominations received from England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany and Japan.
Racing Victoria (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing and Participant Wellbeing, Greg Carpenter, said, “We’re delighted with the entries received today for the Stella Artois Caulfield Cup and Lexus Melbourne Cup which have both seen a significant year-on-year increase.
“There is tremendous depth among both the local and international entries and we’re again pleased to receive the support of many of the world’s leading stables. The ingredients are set for two outstanding renewals this spring.”
A summary of the key nominations are as follows:
- Reigning Melbourne Cup winning-trainer, Ireland’s Joseph O’Brien, has entered three horses for both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups in Irish Derby winner Latrobe, Ming and Master of Reality;
- Joseph’s father Aidan O’Brien has entered 12 horses for the Melbourne Cup with Deauville, Idaho, Cliffs of Moher and Yucatan also entered for the Caulfield Cup. Group 1 winners Kew Gardens and Lancaster Bomber are among those carrying a Melbourne Cup entry only for the Irish stable;
- Global powerhouse Godolphin has three trainers – Charlie Appleby, Saeed bin Suroor and James Cummings - spearheading its pursuit of a maiden Melbourne Cup triumph and second Caulfield Cup;
- Appleby’s Cups entries are headlined by Cross Counter (Melbourne Cup); Emotionless (Caulfield and Melbourne Cups) and Hamada (Melbourne Cup); bin Suroor has Group 1 winner Best Solution (Caulfield and Melbourne Cups) among his entries; whilst highly-rated French import Avilius (Caulfield and Melbourne Cups) has been nominated by Cummings;
- Germany’s 2014 Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Andreas Wohler has entered recent stable acquisition, Ascot Gold Cup placegetter Torceder, for both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups;
- Chestnut Coat (Yoshito Yahagi) and Sole Impact (Hirofumi Toda) are set to fly the flag for Japan in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups with entries received for both;
- Ebor Handicap quinella Muntahaa and Weekender have been nominated for the Melbourne Cup by trainer John Gosden;
- Defending Caulfield Cup champion Boom Time will get his chance to become just the third back-to-back winner of the prized handicap. He is one of 15 entries in the race for the David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig stable alongside Australian Cup winner Harlem;
- Last year’s Caulfield Cup runner-up Single Gaze, a new acquisition to the Chris Waller stable, and fourth placed Lord Fandango (Archie Alexander) feature among the entries for both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups;
- Hall of Fame owner Lloyd Williams’ hopes of securing a third consecutive Melbourne Cup remain with 16 horses – 14 prepared by his private trainer Liam Howley and the Joseph O’Brien pair of Latrobe and Master of Reality;
- 10-year-old crowd favourite Who Shot Thebarman (Chris Waller), the 2018 Sydney Cup winner, remains on target to contest a fourth Melbourne Cup with his entry. His best placed finish a third in 2014 to Protectionist;
- 2015 Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir has 28 chances of claiming another with Japanese imports Admire Robson and Tosen Basil, and Group 1 winners Humidor and Sopressa amongst his swag of entries;
- Weir also has 25 horses nominated for the Caulfield Cup including the warm favourite Kings Will Dream who has already secured his place in the field courtesy of his runaway win in this year’s Mornington Cup;
- Premier trainer Chris Waller is another making a major assault on the spring features with 24 entered for the Caulfield Cup and 21 for the Melbourne Cup. Amongst his dual entries are last season’s Group 1 winners Comin’ Through, D’Argento, Unforgotten and Youngstar.
- Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have entered six horses in both the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup with enormous intrigue surrounding their imported northern hemisphere three-year-old Hush Writer;
- Ace High will get the chance to become just the third VRC Derby champion to win Melbourne Cup as a four-year-old with his nomination. The David Payne-trained entire also features in the Caulfield Cup entries;
- Last season’s Guineas-winning duo Grunt (Australian Guineas) and Mighty Boss (Caulfield Guineas) have been nominated for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups by trainer Mick Price who is chasing his first win in both;
- 2018 Perth Cup winner Material Man (Justin Warwick) and runner-up and Pounamu (Alan Mathews), the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic winner, has hold entries for both Cups;
- The powerful New Zealand stable of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman have a quintet of entries in both Cups headlined by Group 1 winners Bonneval, Jon Snow and Vin de Dance;
- Fellow New Zealand trainer Graeme Rogerson, the 2007 Melbourne Cup winning trainer, has entered three start veteran Surrey – the son of three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva; and
- Former New Zealand five-year-old mare Our Libretto, a veteran of just four starts, has been nominated for both the Cups after a stylish win at Ladbrokes Park (Sandown) yesterday.
- The Stella Artois Caulfield Cup will be run on Saturday, 20 October at Caulfield, with the Lexus Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, 6 November at Flemington.
First acceptances close at 12 noon (AET) on Tuesday, 25 September for the Caulfield Cup and at 12 noon (AET) on Tuesday, 9 October for the Melbourne Cup. Weights for both races will be released on Tuesday, 11 September.
Click here to view the nominations for the 2018 Stella Artois Caulfield Cup.
Click here to view the nominations for the 2018 Lexus Melbourne Cup.