The weeks keep rolling along, and the Melbourne Cup is another four weekends away, plus a few extra days.
It feels like the entree hasn’t been delivered yet, because we are still dabbling around sprint/mile distance races at Group 1 level, which isn’t really telling us anything useful, while those races beyond 2000m aren’t telling us much either, as many of the horses who have won aren’t nominated for the Cup or are too far down the Order of Entry to be a realistic chance.
Other lesser graded races like the Geelong Cup or the Cranbourne Cup might be their calling.
The TAB and various Betting Agencies all-in markets are a bit questionable, and they seem to react to race results like a volatile geiger counter.
And as for the odds for horses that have yet to arrive in Australia let alone run a race, it really is like an all-in smorgasbord.
Get your fill while you can, but beware the risk!
As far as the imports go, there are five shipments that I’m aware of.
Two from Japan and three from England, ex Newmarket Quarantine Centre, with two going to Melbourne and one going to Sydney, the latter includes the Everest contender Ten Sovereigns.
The first shipments of horses have already arrived some days ago and are undergoing their 14 day mandatory stand down, they should be released this weekend.
These include Japanese galloper Suzuka Devious, and European gallopers Raymond Tusk, Gold Mount and Red Verdon among others.
The second lot from Japan have just arrived this morning (Tues Oct 1); these include top-liners Lys Gracieux, Kluger and Mer De Glacé.
They should be released from Werribee after the weekend of the Caulfield Stakes (Oct 12).
The second lot from England arrive that same weekend too, and won’t be released until Cox Plate weekend.
These include many of the Godolphin stable of gallopers such as Cross Counter and Ispolini.
The Caulfield Stakes Day will be a lead in for many of the horses on the first arrival; the Group 2 Herbert Power Handicap (2400m) being a suitable race.
The other possibility is The Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m), run on the Wednesday before VRC Derby Day.
No doubt, Godolphin’s Charlie Appleby will use this race as a tune up for some of his charges, as he has done in the past with the likes of Qewy and Oceanographer.
Depending on how the Order of Entry pans out, some horses will be contesting the Hotham Handicap on VRC Derby Day, as a pot shot at the last chance saloon.
Even a horse like Prince Of Arran who ran third in the Cup last year is not even guaranteed a start this year! I know that jockey Michael Walker was keen to reacquaint himself with the English galloper, but if he can’t make the field then expect to see Walker riding another.
My guess: a Hayes, Hayes, Dabernig galloper who is already qualified.
This weekend sees the running of the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
It’s where we see the merger of the sprinter/milers meeting the gun middle distance gallopers at weight for age.
There’s no Winx this year, but Mystic Journey is in, her performance will be one of the most watched this weekend, to see if her credentials as WS Cox Plate favourite is vindicated.
Plus we might see some tough old hombres lineup, but the likes of Hartnell, Gailo Chop and Black Heart Bart all lined up in last weekend’s Underwood Stakes, so it would surprise many if they ran consecutive weekends.
For me, the most interesting race on the card is the Bart Cummings Handicap (2500m), which acts as a direct qualifier to the Melbourne Cup.
Last year, Avilius won it and got the free lottery ticket, but this year, all eyes will be on Group 2 Adelaide Cup winner Surprise Baby.
Can he join rival Steel Prince into the final Cup field come the first Tuesday in November?
His trainer Paul Preuska seems to think so. They won’t be playing for tiddlywinks this Saturday. It’s all on!
I’m expecting to see a slew of Lloyd Williams gallopers in the next few weeks.
Some really need to hit their straps if they want to be genuine contenders within the four week timeframe we are now in.
Yucatan is a case in point after a moderate performance in the JRA Cup at Moonee Valley last Friday night.
Meanwhile up in Sydney, it’s Epsom Handicap Day, which also means Metropolitan Handicap and Flight Stakes Day.
The latter only features six fillies.
Very disappointing lineup.
From a Melbourne Cup perspective, the Metropolitan is of most interest.
There are currently 17 nominations that I’ve seen this morning (Tuesday 1st October) and most are Sydney based stayers.
The field is a useful one but not overly laden with true class.
Not sure what the weather prediction is, but either way, you’ll know where the early money is going because of it.
Prix d’larc De Triomphe
While there is a ton of action happening in Australia, let’s not forget the big race in France on the weekend; the Prix d’larc De Triomphe featuring John Gosden’s star mare Enable, who is gunning for a three-peat.
There’s no Almond Eye in the race, but there are three other major Japanese gallopers in contention.
Here’s a look at the field:
Enable 8-1 (ENG)
Japan 11-2 (IRE)
Sottsass 6-1 (FRA)
Ghaiyyath 12-1 (ENG)
Magical 16-1 (IREA)
Fierement 16-1 (JPN)
Waldgeist 20-1 (FRA)
Mehdaayih 20-1 (ENG)
Anthony Van Dyck 33-1 (IRE)
Blast Onepiece 40-1 (JPN)
Musis Amica 50-1
French King 50-1
Kiseki 66-1 (JPN)
Nagano Gold 80-1 (JPN)
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.