Rain may disrupt spring hopefuls in UK
29 Jun 2012 | The spotlight on possible international contenders for the Spring Racing Carnival is fixed on Newcastle (UK) and Curragh (Ireland) this weekend, although the former is in danger of abandonment due to torrential rain.
Newcastle is scheduled to host the Northumberland Plate (3200m) on Saturday night (AET), a race that will see the first three placegetters pass the ballot for the Emirates Melbourne Cup.
Their chances of gaining a start in the race would then be dictated by Racing Victoria’s (RV) Chief Handicapper, Greg Carpenter, and the weight he allocates them if entered.
Following are the weekend’s scheduled international races that may impact this year’s Spring Racing Carnival, together with comments from RV’s International Recruitment Officer, Leigh Jordon;
• Newcastle (UK) – Listed Fred Archer Stakes (2400m) – Broadcast live on SKY 2 & SKY World at 12am (AET) Saturday night
Leigh Jordon’s Comment – This race was won last year by Jukebox Jury en route to contesting the Melbourne Cup. Dandino finished second last start to subsequent Hardwicke Stakes winner Sea Moon so I’m watching his form closely. Barbican is a horse that has created some interest amongst Australians looking to acquire a Cups horse so it will be interesting to see how he performs.
• Newcastle (UK) – Northumberland Plate (3200m) – Broadcast live on SKY 2 & SKY World at 12.20am (AET) Sunday morning
Leigh Jordon’s Comment – A big doubt on whether this race and the Fred Archer Stakes will be run. With the heavy track there’s been a number of ‘watch’ horses that have not accepted. Of those that did the Chester Cup winner Il De Re and the Mark Johnston-trained Gulf Of Naples, who was fourth in the Ascot Gold Cup, are the ones I’m most interested in.
• Curragh (IRE) – G3 International Stakes (2000m) – Broadcast live on SKY 2 & SKY World at 12.45am (AET) Monday morning
Leigh Jordon’s Comment – From a Spring viewpoint the Curragh Cup is the most significant race on the card, but the International Stakes is worth keeping an eye on too. Two of the entries, Dermot Weld’s Famous Name and Bob Le Beau, were nominated for the Melbourne Cup previously so they create interest. I’ll be following the winner’s coming appearances with interest.
• Curragh (IRE) – G3 Curragh Cup (2800m) – Broadcast live on SKY 2 & SKY World at 2.25am (AET) Monday morning
Leigh Jordon’s Comment – Subsequent Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux won this race by nine lengths last year. The final field is not yet out, but the horse I’m most interested to see is the Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos. His owner, Dr Marwan Koukash, is very keen to have another Cup runner after campaigning Munsef here in 2009 and this horse needs a Group win to further his credentials.