The dream of winning the $5.15 million Stella Artois Caulfield Cup is still alive for the connections of 87 horses after first acceptances closed at 12pm (AEST) today (Tuesday, 22 September) for the world’s richest handicap over 2400m.
That number includes 12 internationally-trained competitors, who are set to arrive on Australian shores on Friday, 2 October with the aim of emulating the achievements of their fellow raiders Mer De Glace and Best Solution, the respective winners of the Caulfield Cup in 2019 and 2018.
The international presence is an increase on the past three years, with 10 raiders amongst the first acceptances in both 2019 and 2018, and seven in 2017.
The overall number of first acceptors for the 2020 Caulfield Cup, which takes place at Caulfield on Saturday, 17 October, has also risen on the figures in past years with 74 (2019), 83 (2018) and 70 (2017) having previously stood their ground.
This year’s international contingent is headlined by Aidan O’Brien’s Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and his stablemates Armory, last year’s Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) winner Magic Wand and Santiago. Charlie Fellowes’ Prince Of Arran has developed a cult following with his performances during Victoria’s Spring Racing Carnival, and the talented stayer retains his place in the Caulfield Cup entry list alongside last year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) fourth placegetter Master Of Reality, one of four first acceptors from the Joseph O’Brien stable.
Another horse familiar to Australian audiences, the 2019 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) champion True Self, also stands her place in the Caulfield Cup first acceptances but her stable companion Stratum will bypass the Caulfield Cup and instead head straight to the Melbourne Cup.
Of the locals, Orderofthegarter retains his place in the acceptance list having won his way into the $5.15m showpiece courtesy of his victory in last Saturday’s Catanach’s Jewellers MRC Foundation Cup (2000m). The seven-year-old, who will be ridden in the Caulfield Cup by rising star Jye McNeil, will aim to give his trainer Danny O’Brien a second win in the race whilst his high-profile stablemates Russian Camelot and reigning Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) winner Vow And Declare are also amongst the first acceptances.
Mirage Dancer, who finished third for the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young training partnership in 2019, will be aiming to go two better this time around whilst Chris Waller’s seven-strong team of first acceptors includes multiple Group 1-winning mare Verry Elleegant.
Outside of the internationals not travelling to Australia, today’s notable withdrawals from the Caulfield Cup were the ATC Oaks winner Colette, Group 1 champion Kings Will Dream and Melbourne Cup favourite Surprise Baby, who is expected to target that race via the Ladbrokes Cox Plate.
Second acceptances for the Caulfield Cup will close at 12pm (AEST) on Tuesday, 6 October.
Click here to view first acceptances for the Stella Artois Caulfield Cup
The Order of Entry for the Stella Artois Caulfield Cup has been impacted by the first acceptances, with Armory now occupying the all-important 18th position on the updated list.
Both Aktau (Mike Moroney) and Orderofthegarter (Danny O’Brien) are assured of their starting berths at Caulfield on 17 October, courtesy of their respective victories in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) and the MRC Foundation Cup, whilst Anthony Van Dyck comes next on the list ahead of another from the Danny O’Brien stable in Vow And Declare, who finished runner-up in last year’s Caulfield Cup.
Multiple Group 1 winner Avilius, from the James Cummings stable, rounds out the top five.
Click here to view the Caulfield Cup Order of Entry as of Tuesday, 22 September 2020
There has been little movement on the Order of Entry for the Lexus Melbourne Cup, with no material changes from the list issued last week.
Orderofthegarter was issued a 1kg penalty, taking him to 51kg in the weight scale, but he is yet to pass the ballot; whilst the prizemoney has been added from the Newcastle Gold Cup to the relevant earnings of Mugatoo, Hush Writer and Attention Run – the top three finishes in the 2300m contest.
First acceptances for the Melbourne Cup will close at 12pm (AEST) on Tuesday, 29 September.
Click here to view the Melbourne Cup Order of Entry as of Tuesday, 22 September 2020