RACING Victoria is aiming to attract between six to nine international runners for this year’s Melbourne Cup.
International runners made up 25 per cent of the 124 nominations received on Tuesday.
Irish trainer Aiden O’Brien’s highly sought after Order Of St George can expect to be at the top of the list when weights are released in two weeks. He is expected to be allocated 56kg.
Darren Weir’s defending Cup winner Prince Of Penzance and the 2014 winner Protectionist, which has rejuvenated his career since returning to Germany, were among the entries for the $6.2 million race.
Prince Of Penzance is among 11 of Weir’s entries. He has also nominated stakes-winning mare Real Love, import Tosen Stardom and Signoff, which finished fourth in 2014.
The Japanese have nominated only one horse, veteran stayer Curren Mirotic, a dual placegetter in the Group 1 Tenno Sho (3200m).
There is one nomination from America — Da Big Hoss — and another horse from the Czech Republic, the Pavel Tuma-trained Trip To Rhodos.
Lee Freedman, who trains in partnership with his brother Anthony, heads the entries of local trainers with 12 entries, including the highly fancied Our Ivanhowe. Lee Freedman has trained five Cup winners.
James Cummings, the grandson of the late Bart Cummings who trained a record 12 Cup winners, has one nomination — Ruling Dynasty.
The powerful Godolphin stable nominated 16 horses, a mix between their horses based here and others racing overseas.
O’Brien nominated seven horses.
In releasing nominations, RV’s Executive General Manager — Racing, Greg Carpenter, said the quality of nominations was reflective of the global regard afforded to the Melbourne Cup.
“The Emirates Melbourne Cup is the world’s premier staying race and the quality of the local and international entries for this year’s race is outstanding,” Carpenter said.
“From an Australasian perspective, there is Darren Weir’s defending champion Prince Of Penzance, as well as a host of talented four-year-olds, including three of last season’s Group 1 Derby winners and four of last season’s Group 1 Oaks winners.
“The depth among the international contingent is once again exceptional with the Ascot Gold Cup winner Order Of St George, Goodwood Cup winner Big Orange, Ebor winner Heartbreak City and Tenno Sho runner-up Curren Mirotic among 31 international entries.
It is an exciting prospect for the Melbourne Cup to have its first United States-trained runner in the form of North America’s premier stayer Da Big Hoss, who has been nominated by trainer Michael Maker and connections.
“A new country represented in the nominations is the Czech Republic with the Pavel Tuma-trained Trip To Rhodos, a Listed winner in Italy and a last-start placegetter in the Group 2 Prix Kergolay in France.”
VRC chief executive, Simon Love, said the strength of the nominations pleasing.
“The depth in the entries for the 2016 Emirates Melbourne Cup is testament to the continuing appeal of the race, both here and abroad,” Love said. “Coupled with the talented pool of local entrants, the international representation we see among the nominees will hopefully pave the way for a truly diverse contest on the first Tuesday in November.”
Weights for the Cup will be released on September 13, with first acceptances taken on October 4.