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Second shipment of international runners have set off for Melbourne
13 Oct 2017 | Racing Victoria 

Five internationally-trained thoroughbreds boarded flights from Ireland and the United Kingdom overnight, and will touch down at Melbourne Airport on Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Day ahead of their assault on the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival.

Four Irish gallopers – the Joseph O’Brien-trained duo US Army Ranger and Rekindling, and Willie Mullins’ pair Max Dynamite and Thomas Hobson – were joined on the flight by Iain Jardine’s Ebor Handicap winner Nakeeta, who is set to become the first horse trained in Scotland to compete in the Spring Racing Carnival.

The quintet is scheduled to land in Melbourne at 12.30pm tomorrow (Saturday, 14 October), and will be immediately transferred to Racing Victoria’s (RV) Werribee International Horse Centre, where they will spend the next fortnight completing their mandatory post-arrival quarantine requirements.

The five will take the total number of horses passing through Werribee to 24, with the first shipment of 19 set to finish their quarantine period tomorrow morning.

Nakeeta is aiming to plot a similar path to last year’s Ebor winner Heartbreak City, who came within a neck of becoming the seventh international horse to win the Emirates Melbourne Cup.
Max Dynamite also has a runner-up finish in the Melbourne Cup to his name, running second to Prince of Penzance in 2015, whilst his stablemate Thomas Hobson will be making his maiden journey to Victorian shores.

Mullins had the Spring Racing Carnival in mind for Thomas Hobson after his impressive victory in the Ascot Stakes on the first day of the Royal meeting in June. His most recent run was a runner-up finish in the Doncaster Cup and, should he earn his place in the Melbourne Cup field, Thomas Hobson would be partnered by the ‘Magic Man’, Joao Moreira.

Rekindling, owned by Hall of Famer Lloyd Williams, will represent a first runner in the Spring Racing Carnival for O’Brien, the son of world-renowned horseman Aidan who has The Taj Mahal and Johannes Vermeer competing in the Ladbrokes Stakes at Caulfield tomorrow.

Rekindling earned his first Group 2 success when winning the International Curragh Cup in his native Ireland in July. That day, the northern hemisphere three-year-old beat the Mullins-trained stayer Wicklow Brave, who has his sights set firmly on next week’s BMW Caulfield Cup.

US Army Ranger, formerly under the stewardship of Aidan O’Brien, started favourite for the 2016 Epsom Derby, but ultimately finished second behind Harzand, trained by Dermot Weld.

Coincidentally, Weld started the trend of sending international runners to the Spring Racing Carnival in 1993, when he claimed the Melbourne Cup with Vintage Crop – in whose honour one the stables at the Werribee International Horse Centre is named.

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