IT continues to be "spot the Australian bred horse" in the line-up for the nation-stopping $8 million Melbourne Cup run over 3200 metres at Flemington next Tuesday.
At point of writing it appears there are only three Australian-bred possibilities that could make the field of 24 - Persan, Warning, and last year's Melbourne Cup winner, Vow And Declare.
While Vow And Declare and Warning (last year's Victoria Derby-G1 winner), had notable long-distance racing campaigns last year, both are yet to spotlight themselves this year.
Interestingly, both gallopers are sons of Coolmore Stud's two-time shuttler Declaration Of War (by Danzig's War Front).
Coolmore Stud is also home of Lonhro horse Pierro - largely among leading Australian stallions and sire of Persan, a four-year-old which is exempt of a ballot of a Melbourne Cup start, after his commanding Flemington win in The Bart Cummings-G3 (2510 metres) earlier this month.
As usual, I will be "gunning" for the Australian bred entrants, however numerous internationals are closely looming.
Firstly, our New Zealand bred neighbours, which includes the gutsy Chris Waller trained mare Verry Elleegant, winner of the Turnbull Stakes-G1 before having to dig deep to get past northern hemisphere invader Anthony Van Dyck to win the Caulfield Cup.
By Zabeel sire Zed, Verry Elleegant is among about six New Zealand bred gallopers vying for a start, however the champion mare along with another kiwi bred Oceanex (third in last Saturday's Moonee Valley Cup-G2) are also exempt from a ballot.
These other kiwi breds include Moonee Valley Cup fourth placegetter, Etah James - winner of this year's Sydney Cup (3200 metres), The Chosen One - third in the Caulfield Cup, and which are both by staying sires Raise The Flag and Zabeel, respectively.
Another New Zealand bred mare Miami Bound, won the Moonee Valley Cup, and is by GB bred and French Derby winner Reliable Man (by Irish bred French Derby and Prix l'Arc de Triomphe winner Dalakhani). These entrants could "stay all day" and are all worth a place bet.
But the northern hemisphere bred gallopers seem dominating with the win of Irish bred Sir Dragonet in last Saturday's celebrated W S Cox Plate-G1 convincing, with another Cup contender the third placed Russian Camelot starring. These two are both "in the money" and are staying sons of Irish Derby winning sire Camelot (a Montjeu horse who earlier spent one shuttle stud season at Coolmore Stud, Jerrys Plains).
Finche, a GB bred son by Galileo's super-son Frankel, is also ready for his second Melbourne Cup try. Which horse/s will you select?
Megabucks in Europe
WHILE COVID-19 continues to cause havoc around the globe, industry players in Europe have been spending big on youngsters at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale at Newmarket in England earlier this month.
An early high included a colt by 2014 European Horse Of The Year Kingman which fetched 2.7 million guineas.
By champion UK sire Invincible Spirit, Kingman has fast become a leading young sire.
Recently retired mare Enable - winner of two Prix l'Arc de Triomphe races and two-time European Horse Of The Year, is among early mare bookings for Kingman, that stands at Banstead Manor near Newmartket, England.
The Kingman yearling colt is a half-brother to England's St James' Palace Stakes-G1 and Two Thousand Guineas-G1 winner Galileo Gold, which is great for Coolmore Stud connections as they introduced a Kingman son to its Jerrys Plains stud roster this season - Calyx. The first son of Kingman available to Australian breeders, Calyx won his two starts as a juvenile including the Coventry Stakes-G2 at Royal Ascot, following by the Commonwealth Cup Trial Stakes-G3 as a three-year-old.
But the European market was still underpinned by Coolmore Stud's great sire Galileo, with two of his daughters fetching 3.4m and 2.8m guineas respectively. The top filly became the highest priced yearling sold at a public auction in Europe or North America this year.
Also at the sale was the first foal from the northern hemisphere bred Fastnet Rock mare Intricately. Winner of England's Moyglare Stud Stakes-G1, Intricately produced a colt by former Australian shuttler and leading European sire Dubawi, and which sold for 1.1m guineas.