Prince Of Arran on Melbourne Cup trail again
Prince Of Arran heads eight British-trained entries for the Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
Charlie Fellowes’ runner has twice placed in the two-mile Group One, finishing third in 2018 and passing the post in third again last year, before being promoted to second following a stewards’ inquiry.
The seven-year-old, who was last seen when sixth in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, could now try to make it third time lucky in Australia on November 3.
Hughie Morrison has also hit the bar in ‘the race that stops a nation’, sending out Marmelo to finish second to Cross Counter in 2018.
He has two possibles this time in Telecaster, who won a French Group Three back in June, and Glorious Stakes third Le Don De Vie.
Another fascinating entry is Ed Walker’s English King, an effortless winner of the Lingfield Derby Trial before going on to finish fifth in the main event at Epsom and then disappointing when fourth in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.
Andrew Balding’s Dashing Willougby, the David O’Meara-trained Eagles By Day, Red Verdon from Ed Dunlop’s yard and Selino, who is trained by James Fanshawe, complete the British entry.
Irish Derby winner Santiago is one of Aidan O’Brien’s possible contenders – along with Anthony Van Dyck, Cormorant, Dawn Patrol, Mythical, Nobel Prize, Order Of Australia, Sovereign and Tiger Moth.
Joseph O’Brien, who famously won the race in 2017 with Rekindling, has seven entries – Bolleville, Buckhurst, Degraves, Master Of Reality, Patrick Sarsfield, Pondus and Twilight Payment.
Willie Mullins has entered Stratum and True Self, with German trainer Andreas Wohler and French handlers Fabrice Chappet and Jean-Claude Rouget also nominating runners for the headline event.
A number of the potential European raiders, including English King, Telecaster and Santiago, are also entered for the Stella Artois Caulfield Cup on October 17.
O’Brien has also put in star mare Magical, globetrotter Magic Wand and last year’s Juddmonte International hero Japan for the 12-furlong contest.
Greg Carpenter, Racing Victoria’s executive general manager of racing, is pleased with an entry which also features last year’s winner Vow And Declare, but admits the Covid-19 pandemic presents some issues for the potential international challenge.
He said: “The number of internationally-trained entries is higher than expected in the circumstances, due largely to the tremendous interest from Aidan and Joseph O’Brien who have an impressive list of entries in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
“As has been communicated previously, we are planning to welcome up to 16 international horses on one-way tickets to Melbourne at the end of September, and we have provision for up to 16 internationally trained horses on two-way tickets to join them on the one shipment from Europe.
“We have this week received travel exemptions from the Government for a limited number of staff from six international stables to enter Australia and care for their horses during the Spring Racing Carnival.
“However, there remains a number of logistical challenges around flights and mandatory quarantine to overcome before that can become a reality.”