Date: May 16 2012
ALTHOUGH Australian racing's well-heeled players continue to invest millions of dollars on imported stayers in a bid to keep the $6 million Melbourne Cup at home, neither they nor the overseas visitors targeting the race can expect any favours from Racing Victoria Limited.
The industry's leaders yesterday said there would be no quota or protection system introduced to guarantee a specific number of locally trained or owned runners in the Cup, even though the Japanese, who quinellaed the race in 2006, were likely to return after a six-year absence and an even greater number of Europeans were expected to bid for glory at Flemington.
Neither would any financial incentives or a guarantee of a place in the field be offered to even the most highly regarded visitor.
The Cup will be open to all, said Racing Victoria's general manager of racing operations and chief handicapper, Greg Carpenter. The only criteria would be racetrack performance.
''There's no right to get a run. There's no provisions in the ballot for where you are owned, trained or have run. It's an open competition.''
Carpenter detailed a list of overseas horses recently acquired by Australian interests that could be aimed at the Cup. These included Beaten Up, a group 3 winner in England last year, Jakkalberry, purchased by Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock and who ran third in Dubai earlier this year, OTI's Ibicenco, a former German galloper, and Vadamar, bought by Sheikh Fahad, who won the Cup last year with Dunaden.
Other potential contenders include former German-trained Val Mondo, and the former US horse Sanagas, who will go to Bart Cummings, and the South American group 2 winner Val Champ, both of whom have been purchased by BC3.
Crackerjack King, trained by Marco Botti and the winner of last year's Italian Derby, in which he beat subsequent Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine Danedream, is another to have been bought by Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock, but he is more likely to aimed at the Cox Plate.
''There are a lot of horses being targeted at the Cup, but some 50 per cent of them have no guarantee of getting into the race,'' Carpenter said. ''But the interest in our carnival has been extraordinary.''
While the doomsayers have prophesied that the internationalisation of the Cup could lead to three-quarters of the field comprised of foreign raiders, the prohibitive cost of getting a horse to Australia and the lack of certainty will deter all but the most determined, Carpenter contends.
■Leigh Jordon, RVL's international manager, and Michael Browell, chief executive of the Moonee Valley Racing Club, will be in Singapore this weekend where they hope to target trainers who might be tempted, not so much for the Melbourne Cup, but to the Cox Plate and other significant sprints and mile races during the spring carnival.
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