All the major action continues over in the UK and Europe, while the Southern Hemisphere has wrapped up Group racing in Japan, Hong Kong and of course down this part of the world in Australasia.
Hong Kong Quarantine, breakthrough?
This impasse has been going on for several years now.
You have to wonder how many more boxes need to be ticked and checklists need to crossed off before the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources give the all clear for international race horses to travel freely from Hong Kong to Australia.
At present, only Australian horses can come and go, though this was only a recent allowance.
International horses who have raced in Hong Kong have to undergo a six month stand down.
A case in point: Rostropovich, who is serving his quarantine time in New Zealand before joining the Lindsay Park stable in a few weeks for an assault on the Victorian spring carnival.
This all came into the news last week when it was established that Japanese mare Lys Gracieux was ineligible to come to the Cox Plate on invite, as she wouldn’t have been able to fulfill her quarantine commitments in time.
Even if the DAWR are to give their all-clear, it would take months for anything to happen, mainly because: the Hong Kong season has finished, all their top horses are taking a break, and none of them are qualified enough to run in a Melbourne Cup. Watch this space.
Cup carnival coverage goes to Channel 10?
Yes, it’s not new news, but as we venture closer to the first raceday of spring, the new arrangement will kick into gear once we get to the first week of November.
As a refresher.. Channel 10 won the rights to broadcast the Melbourne Cup carnival, the four day package of Derby, Cup, Oaks and Stakes Days.
It’s a deal worth $100 million and will run for five years.
So where does this leave racing.com?
The joint venture between Channel 7 and Racing Victoria reached an agreement with Channel 10, in that races over the four day carnival will be able to be broadcast on their digital platforms, Foxtel and free to air.
One proviso, is that legendary race caller and host Bruce McAvaney and Hamish McLachlan are not to be featured by Channel 7 in any of their coverage.
Racing.com will still broadcast other feature races throughout the spring.
As a punting enthusiast, I’m not altogether convinced by Channel 10’s targeting of youth, fashion, food and entertainment. You don’t see this approach at other events like the tennis, golf or cricket. Time will tell whether the experiment is a success.
Channel 10 and Sky Racing: deal
Recently announced was a deal between the two media entities to broadcast coverage of several lead up races over in UK and Europe, on free to air TV in Australia.
The following race meetings will be aired on Ten Bold.
Good luck to those of you who are late night insomniacs.
– Coral Eclipse Meeting, Sandown Park, UK (already run)
– July Cup Meeting, Newmarket, UK
– Glorious Goodwood, Goodwood, UK
– Ebor Festival, York, UK
– Cambridgeshire Meeting, Newmarket, UK
– ARC Meeting, Longchamp, France
– British Champions Day, Ascot, UK
All roads point to the Ebor
The Ebor Handicap (2787m), the richest staying Handicap in the UK will be contested at York in a few weeks time.
The race has proved to be a handy guide to the Melbourne Cup, with horses such as Heartbreak City, Nakeeta and Muntahaa all winning in recent years and turning up to Melbourne a few months later.
This years event could feature a strong turnout of contenders, looking to not only land a healthy winners cheque, but some ranking points in the Melbourne Cup first ballot order of entry.
Horses to keep an eye on include: Red Verdon, Gold Mount, Raheem House, Weekender, Wells Farhh Go, Baghdad, Kings Advice and possibly his stable mate Communique.
Another race to keep an eye on is the 3000m Group 2 Prix Kergolay raced at Deauville.
It has also been used as a guide.
Previous winners have included gallopers that went on to race in Australia, such as: Almaraad, Persian Punch, Americain, Verema, Protectionist and Marmelo.
What’s happening overseas?
Two horses mentioned in this week’s report were in action over the weekend; Ed Dunlop’s promising stayer Red Verdon who we briefly saw in Melbourne last year, plus Hughie Morrison’s Marmelo, who was raving in France.
He carries the same colours of his illustrious and ill-fated stable mate Red Cadeaux.
He came to Australia last year, raced in the Caulfield Cup which was beset by a slow pace, then had to be withdrawn on the eve of the Melbourne Cup with a bruised heel.
This new season he’s back in business, and won the John Smith’s Silver Cup (2800m) at York, defeating Gold Mount and Raheem House.
All three are headed for the Ebor (same course and distance).
— Sporting Life (@SportingLife) July 13, 2019
The well travelled galloper was looking for back to back wins in the Group II Prix Maurice de Nieuil (2800m) at Longchamp, Paris, but came up short.
He was denied the win by the striking grey Way To Paris, but his progress toward another Melbourne Cup appearance looks good, now that he is getting quality mileage into his legs.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) July 14, 2019
What’s happening locally
Though the Group racing is over for the season, stables in both Australia and New Zealand are gearing toward lead up races starting next month.
One interesting contender is the Kiwi stayer Blue Breeze, who now has the backing of Cambridge Stud in his ownership group.
The galloper has a respected formline over distance, placing to Igraine in the Counties Cup (also the recent winner of the Caloundra Cup), plus also running second and third to Glory Days in the Group 2 Avondale Cup and Group 1 Auckland Cup respectively.
Blue Breeze will venture through a NSW pathway of Melbourne Cup qualification, with a likely target being the Metropolitan Handicap to get his rating and weight up.
Like all good Kiwi stayers, he can handle a wet track, and already meets the first ballot clause for the Flemington feature.
That’s all for this weeks Melbourne Cup Watch Report.
Keep checking in with Kruzey.com.au for more, as we count down to the first Tuesday in November 2019.