The spring aspirations of some of Australia’s – and indeed the world’s – best horses has become clearer after second acceptances closed at 12pm (AEST) today (Tuesday, 22 September) for the $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m), the $2 million Neds Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and the $1 million Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m).
The 100th edition of Australia’s weight-for-age championship, which will be run at The Valley on Saturday, 24 October, is still in the sights of 66 gallopers with four internationals aiming to take home the gold Cox Plate trophy. That number is down slightly on last year’s bumper crop of 68 second acceptors, but is significantly up on the tally of the three previous years when the mighty mare Winx scared off several potential rivals.
The stallion-making Caulfield Guineas has attracted 47 second acceptors whilst 41 fillies remain in contention to land the Thousand Guineas at Caulfield on Saturday, 10 October – the first day of the famous Stella Artois Caulfield Cup Carnival.
Armory, Magic Wand (both Aidan O’Brien), Buckhurst (Joseph O’Brien) and Aspetar (Roger Charlton) make up the four-strong international contingent aiming to claim the centenary edition of the Cox Plate, won last year by Japanese superstar Lys Gracieux. Two of the four have prevailed at racing’s highest level, whilst Armory and Buckhurst – who is owned by Lloyd Williams – both have Group wins on their CVs.
Closer to home, a pair of last-start Group 1 winners – the Matt Smith-trained Fierce Impact (Makybe Diva Stakes) and Chris Waller’s gelding Kolding (George Main Stakes) – have retained their places in the second acceptances list alongside Kris Lees’ emerging stayer Mugatoo, who notched a hat-trick of wins with his victory in the Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) last week.
The crop of second acceptors includes a total of 26 Group 1 winners, with the early favourite Russian Camelot aiming to add the Cox Plate to the South Australian Derby (2500m) he claimed earlier this year. Russian Camelot is one of only three northern hemisphere three-year-olds left in the running – he is joined in the exclusive list by Armory and the Team Hawkes-trained Kingsheir – whilst there are 18 southern hemisphere three-year-olds including Group 1-winning colts King’s Legacy and Tagaloa.
Third acceptances for the Ladbrokes Cox Plate close at 12pm (AEST) on Tuesday, 6 October.
Click here to view the second acceptances for the Ladbrokes Cox Plate
Group 1 winners Tagaloa (trained by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young) and King’s Legacy (Peter and Paul Snowden) will aim to add to their haul of victories at the highest level after remaining in the hunt for the Caulfield Guineas.
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable are well represented with nine second acceptors, including Group winners Prague and Holyfield.
Other notable names amongst the 47 second acceptors are Team Hawkes’ highly progressive three-year-old North Pacific, Patrick Payne’s exciting gelding Cherry Tortoni and Mo’unga, who has won his last three starts for Australia’s leading trainer Chris Waller.
Click here to view the second acceptances for the Neds Caulfield Guineas
Dame Giselle, the I Am Invincible filly trained in Sydney by Peter and Paul Snowden, is prominent in the early betting markets for the Thousand Guineas after winning her last three starts, most recently the Group 2 Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick last Saturday.
The filly she narrowly beat that day, the Chris Waller-trained Hungry Heart, is also amongst the second acceptors for both the Caulfield and Thousand Guineas.
Leading Victorian-based contenders include Philip Stokes’ unbeaten filly Instant Celebrity, whilst the Mick Price and Mick Kent Junior partnership have a strong hand including last-start winners Night Raid and Odeum.
Final declarations for both the Neds Caulfield Guineas and the Schweppes Thousand Guineas close at 9am (AEST) on Tuesday, 6 October.
Click here to view the second acceptances for the Schweppes Thousand Guineas