A record 11 internationally-trained horses will compete on Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Day at Caulfield on Saturday.
The overseas raiders will complete their mandatory two-week quarantine period the morning of Saturday, 13 October.
The highest-rated horse of the 11 entered is Godolphin’s multiple Group 1 winner Benbatl, the early favourite for the $1 million Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m). Irish jockey Pat Cosgrave will fly to Australia to ride the son of Dubawi, and will stay in Melbourne to partner Benbatl’s Group 1-winning stablemate Best Solution in next Saturday’s $5.15m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Benbatl’s trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, told the Godolphin website: “The reports I have received about the horse are good. We are very happy with him, and Saturday’s race should set him up nicely for the Cox Plate.”
The Ladbrokes Stakes field will include two fellow overseas raiders, with Aidan O’Brien’s The Cliffsofmoher (ridden by Mark Zahra) and another Godolphin galloper, the Charlie Appleby-trained Blair House, also entered for the Group 1 contest.
Blair House will be ridden by English jockey James Doyle, who was on board Jungle Cat when he made a triumphant Australian debut in the Ladbrokes Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) last month.
Jungle Cat will aim to stretch out to a mile and claim a second Group 1 during the Spring Racing Carnival when he lines up in the time-honoured Aquis Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
As well as Jungle Cat and Blair House, Doyle will also partner Appleby’s sprinter Comicas in The Big Screen Company Weekend Hussler Stakes (1400m) and Spirit Of Valor in the Group 2 Keno Schillaci Stakes (1100m) on Saturday.
O’Brien is launching a three-pronged attack on that race, with Spirit Of Valor’s Ballydoyle stable companions Fleet Review (ridden by Dwayne Dunn) and Intelligence Cross (Emmet McNamara) also set to make their Australian debuts for the Irish maestro.
A Prince Of Arran, trained by Charlie Fellowes and ridden by Michael Walker, bin Suroor’s stayer Prize Money, who will be piloted by Cosgrave, and the O'Brien-trained Yucatan (James McDonald) complete the set of internationally-trained competitors in the Group 2 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes (2400m), which affords the winner a ticket to the Caulfield Cup.
The 11 internationals represent an increase on the previous Guineas Day record of eight, which was set last year.
In addition to the overseas raiders lining up at Caulfield, two horses who arrived from Europe on a one-way ticket are also set to step out for the first time on Australian soil on Saturday.
They are: Lord Langley, who makes his debut for his new trainer Darren Weir in the Toorak Handicap; and Dal Harraild, who will be aiming to deliver a maiden victory for the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace training partnership in the Herbert Power Stakes.
Then on Sunday, last year’s Ladbrokes Cox Plate placegetter Folkswood will be ridden by Doyle in his bid to claim back-to-back wins in the Listed TAB Cranbourne Cup (2025m) for Godolphin.
Godolphin's Jungle Cat (IRE) and James Doyle winning the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield opening the international runners campaigns in Victoria, picture Quentinjlang.com