A record nine overseas runners have accepted for races on Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Day, with world-renowned trainers Charlie Appleby, Aidan O’Brien and Willie Mullins all sending runners to take on the locals at ‘The Heath’ this Saturday.
All nine have been stabled at Racing Victoria’s (RV) Werribee International Horse Centre since arriving from Europe on AFL Grand Final Day, and will be cleared to pursue the riches on offer on the opening day of the BMW Caulfield Cup Carnival after completing their mandatory quarantine period on Saturday morning.
The Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m), which this year carries an increased prize fund of $1 million, will feature no fewer than four international gallopers, with Johannes Vermeer, The Taj Mahal (both trained by O’Brien), Riven Light (Mullins) and Calderon (Tony McEvoy) all taking their places in the field.
O’Brien has engaged Group 1-winning jockeys Katelyn Mallyon and Damien Oliver to ride Johannes Vermeer and Taj Mahal respectively. His fellow Irishman Mullins has called on Glen Boss to pilot Riven Light, while Luke Currie gets the ride on Calderon (formerly Steel of Madrid), who impressed in a strong trackwork gallop at Werribee this morning.
Appleby, Godolphin UK’s trainer, plotted a highly lucrative raid on last year’s Spring Racing Carnival, and returns to Victoria with a high-quality team which includes Kidmenever, who will make his Melbourne debut in the Group 2 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes (2400m).
Glyn Schofield’s mount will tackle an elite field which includes the Hugo Palmer-trained Wall of Fire, who will be partnered by in-form jockey Mark Zahra.
Palmer has also accepted Mask of Time in the Keno Weekend Hussler Stakes (1400m), a race which will include William Haggas’ gelding Fastnet Tempest, ridden by evergreen hoop Dean Yendall.
Palmer’s preference, however, is to run Mask of Time in the Group 1 United Petroleum Toorak Handicap (1600m), for which he is currently first emergency.
Kaspersky, the horse ridden by Michelle Payne at Royal Ascot in June, is in the field for the Toorak Handicap, but will be piloted by Luke Nolen after Payne withdrew from her riding commitments through illness.
Kaspersky’s trainer, Jane Chapple-Hyam, has been delighted with the progress of the seven-year-old stallion since he arrived in Melbourne almost two weeks ago.
“Kaspersky is in great health,” she said.
“He did a very nice gallop last Sunday, and we’re just keeping him ticking him over until Saturday now. He eats everything we give him which is always a good sign, so we couldn’t be happier with him. The owners are really looking forward to seeing him in action at Caulfield, and we’re hopeful he’ll run well like he normally does.”
Leigh Jordon, RV’s International Agent, is delighted that the lure of the Spring Racing Carnival has attracted a strong international presence again this year.
“The increased internalisation of the Spring Racing Carnival is something Racing Victoria and the clubs are very proud of, and it’s heartening to see a record number of overseas horses running at Caulfield on Saturday,” said Jordon.
Godolphin's Charlie Appleby, picture Quentinjlang.com