By Brad Gray
The Championships has captured strong international interest ahead of first nominations closing on Monday. Not surprisingly, the $2 million Sydney Cup is attracting plenty of attention, led by Godolphin, Ed Dunlop and Willie Mullins.
“To have Ed Dunlop considering a return to Sydney is very exciting and we’re expecting a couple of horses from him to be nominated, including Trip To Paris,” said the ATC’s General Manager of Racing, Wagering and International James Ross.
Trip To Paris was last sighted when third in the Irish St Leger carrying 62kg and the six-year-old has thrived in Australia before having run second to Mongolian Khan in the 2015 Caulfield Cup and then fourth in the Melbourne Cup.
Ed Dunlop with Red Cadeaux and Trip To Paris
Irish trainer Willie Mullins expected to make his first nominations in Sydney with Max Dynamite, Wicklow Brave, Clondaw Warrior and Thomas Hobson.
Max Dynamite ran second to Prince Of Penzance in the 2015 Melbourne Cup while the Irish trainer has also overseen the Melbourne Cup preparation of Simenon in 2013, where he ran fifth.
“Godolphin are planning to target the Sydney Cup. At this stage they intend to send Penglai Pavilion and Polarisation," said Ross.
Gold Trail will join them in quarantine at Canterbury before likely heading south to tackle the Mornington Cup.
“It will be great to see Charlie Appleby in Sydney and his participation reflects the growing international focus of The Championships.”
Appleby was an unstoppable force over the spring with the likes of Scottish, Qewy, Oceanographer and Frances Of Assisi quickly acclimatising to the Australian conditions.
The Championships have also continued to attract top line interest from Japan with Satono Crown, Neorealism and Shuji expected to be nominated.
Satono Crown defeated Highland Reel in the Group One Hong Kong Vase (2400m) in December and was recently ranked 12th in Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings while Neorealism has the scalp of Maurice on his CV, having beaten him in the Group Two Sapporo Kinen (2000m) in October last year.
The rich Randwick features have also raised the attention of some emerging horses in Japan including recent Group Three winner Meiner Honey who will most likely be accompanied by stablemate Meiner Milano, both being owned by prominent owners K Thoroughbred Club Ruffian.
“We’d expect a horse like Meiner Honey to find the Doncaster Mile a very suitable race. He looks an interesting contender under handicap conditions and comes though strong races in Japan.”
First nominations for The Championships close at 12 noon on Monday (6 Feb).
For more information on The Championships, visit the official site.