The countdown to a number of Victoria’s feature races continued on Tuesday with the close of acceptances for five events during the Spring Racing Carnival including the $5 million Group 1 Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) and $5 million Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m).
A total of 83 horses, including 10 internationally-trained entries, feature among the first acceptances for the Caulfield Cup on Saturday, 20 October.
A total of 41 horses, headlined by three-time champion Winx and five internationally-trained horses, remain in contention for the Cox Plate at The Valley on Saturday, 27 October with the close of second acceptances today.
In addition to the Cox Plate, second acceptances were also taken today for the Melbourne Racing Club’s (MRC) two Group 1 three-year-old classics on Saturday, 13 October – the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) – which received 50 and 54 acceptors respectively.
$5 million Group 1 Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) – Caulfield, Saturday, 20 October 2018
With record prizemoney of $5 million on offer, first acceptances for the Caulfield Cup have risen year-on-year from 70 to 83.
Premier trainer Darren Weir has accepted with 12 horses including ballot exempt runners King’s Will Dream and Night’s Watch.
Chris Waller has a race-high 15 acceptors headlined by Group 1 winners Comin’ Through and Unforgotten - who are both assured of starts - and including imported runners Count Octave (ex-Andrew Balding) and Finche (ex-André Fabre) who arrive in Melbourne on Saturday and will require some attrition to obtain a start.
A total of 10 internationally-trained horses feature among the acceptors with Best Solution (Saeed bin Suroor), Cliffs Of Moher (Aidan O’Brien), Chestnut Coat (Yoshito Yahagi) and Emotionless (Charlie Appleby) those currently in the starting line-up of 18.
Astute New Zealand trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman have accepted with Bonneval and Jon Snow, while Makybe Diva Stakes winner Grunt (Mick Price), Perth Cup winner Pounamu (Alan Mathews) and Victoria Derby winner Ace High (David Payne) also feature.
The notable withdrawals are defending champion Boom Time (Team Hayes) who has succumbed to injury, Humidor (Darren Weir) who has accepted for the Cox Plate only and international raider Folkswood (Charlie Appleby) who finished rearward at his return to Australian racing last Saturday and was reported to be lame.
Second acceptances for the Caulfield Cup close at 12 noon on Tuesday, 9 October 2018.
For the updated Order of Entry for the 2018 Stella Artois Caulfield Cup, please click here
Click here to view first acceptances for the 2018 Caulfield Cup
Hugh Bowman and Winx, picture Sportpix.com.au
$5 million Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) – The Valley, Saturday, 27 October 2018
The dream of denying Winx an historic fourth consecutive Cox Plate remains alive for the connections of 40 horses that feature in the second acceptances taken today for Australia’s $5 million weight-for-age championship.
Joining Chris Waller’s champion mare Winx are six stablemates including boom three-year-old colt The Autumn Sun, Comin’ Through, D’Argento and Unforgotten.
The Autumn Sun is one of six three-year-olds among the second acceptors alongside Gem Song (Kris Lees), The August (Brent Stanley), Thinkin’ Big (Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott) and the fillies El Dorado Dreaming (Kris Lees) and Futooh (Team Hayes).
With last year’s placegetter Folkswood withdrawn, the five internationally-trained horses that remain are Godolphin trio Benbatl (Saeed bin Suroor), Blair House (Charlie Appleby) and Emotionless (Charlie Appleby) and the Aidan O’Brien-trained pair of Cliffs of Moher and northern hemisphere three-year-old Rostropovich.
The other notable withdrawals at the second acceptance stage were Deauville (Aidan O’Brien), Kementari (James Cummings), Youngstar (Chris Waller) and three-year-old filly Smart Melody (Kris Lees).
Third acceptances for the Cox Plate close at 12 noon on Tuesday, 9 October 2018.
Click here to view second acceptances for the 2018 Cox Plate.
$2 million Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) – Saturday, 13 October 2018
A total of 50 three-year-olds feature among second acceptances for the stallion-making Caulfield Guineas headlined by the Chris Waller-trained trio The Autumn Sun, Zousain and Lean Mean Machine.
Hoping to upstage the boys are five fillies that have been paid up for today including Group 1 winner Seabrook (Mick Price) and the unbeaten Smart Melody (Kris Lees).
The notable withdrawals were Brutal (Team Hawkes), Encryption (James Cummings) and Graff (Kris Lees).
Final acceptances for the Caulfield Guineas close at 9am on Tuesday, 9 October 2018.
Click here to view second acceptances for the 2018 Caulfield Guineas.
$500,000 Group 1 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) – Saturday, 13 October 2018
The number of second acceptors for the Thousand Guineas has increased year-on-year from 45 to 54 as owners chase Group 1 glory for their future breeding prospects.
Astute Newcastle trainer Kris Lees features prominently with Group 1 winner El Dorado Dreaming, untapped stablemate Smart Melody and the regally-bred Miss Fabulass among his acceptors. Other acceptors of note are the Tony McEvoy pair of Oohood and Kinky Boom, Seabrook (Mick Price) and Fiesta (Chris Waller).
The notable withdrawal was Pure Elation (Peter and Paul Snowden) who has been sidelined by a knee injury.
Final acceptances for the Thousand Guineas close at 9am on Tuesday, 9 October 2018.
Click here to view second acceptances for the Thousand Guineas.
$350,000 Group 3 Catanch’s Jewellers Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) Wednesday, 17 October 2018
An impressive list of 46 second acceptances were taken for the MRC’s feature three-year-old sprint on day two of the Stella Artois Caulfield Cup Carnival.
Blue Diamond champion Written By (Graham Begg) and Magic Millions heroine Sunlight (Tony McEvoy) headline the acceptors, with Santos (Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott), Encryption (James Cummings), Tony Nicconi (Team Hayes), Oohood (Tony McEvoy) and Thrillster (Leon and Troy Corstens) among the others of note.
Final acceptances for the Blue Sapphire close at 9am on Monday, 15 October 2018.
Click here to view second acceptances for the Blue Sapphire Stakes.