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Cummings Eyes 2009 Melbourne Cup

Last year’s 2008 Melbourne Cup winner Viewed spearheads an 11-horse team for trainer Bart Cummings who is aiming to win Australia’s most famous race for the 13th time in November.

Cummings’s other headline entries are AJC Australian Derby winner Roman Emperor, AJC Australian Oaks runner-up Think Money, VRC St Leger runner-up Precedence and 2007 Queensland Derby winner Empires Choice.

On Tuesday a total of 230 horses were entered for the 2009 Melbourne Cup and 227 for the 2009 Caulfield Cup, down significantly on last year’s entries of 297 and 282 respectively.

A reflection of the global economic downturn was the drop from 66 to 43 international nominations for the spring racing carnival’s three major races with 39 overseas entries for the Melbourne Cup, 18 for the Caulfield Cup and 11 for the Cox Plate.

Racing Victoria’s racing operations chief Leigh Jordon said that while numbers were down for the Cups the quality had held up well.

“All the main players are represented,” Jordon said.

He said global powerhouse Godolphin was as keen as ever after winning last year’s 2008 Caulfield Cup with All The Good.

The stable has nominated seven of its best gallopers for the Cups including Group One Dubai Sheema Classic (2400m) winner Eastern Anthem.

“They still have a passion to win the Melbourne Cup,” Jordon said.

“They have a very good bunch of in-form horses entered and they are pretty bullish in general.”

Other Cup contenders for trainer Saeed Bin Suroor are last-start Group Two Goodwood Cup (3200m) winner Schiaparelli, Group Two York Stakes (2088m) winner Kirklees and emerging star Age Of Reason.

Eastern Anthem and stablemate Crime Scene have also been nominated for the 2009 Cox Plate.

Jordon said Ireland’s dual Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Dermot Weld was “totally committed” to running Profound Beauty in the Melbourne Cup after she finished fifth last year.

She is unbeaten in two starts this year and will contest the Ballyroan Stakes (2400m) at Leopardstown on August 13.

Stablemate and Melbourne Cup hope Directa King, a last-start winner by 17 lengths at Galway, is also entered for the Ballyroan. Ghimaar is Weld’s other Cup entry.

After seconds with Purple Moon and Bauer, English trainer Luca Cumani has nominated outstanding galloper Cima De Triomphe who will contest America’s Group One Arlington Million (2000m) this weekend. Basaltico is his other Cups nomination.

Champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has nominated four horses for the Melbourne Cup headed by Changingoftheguard who is favourite for the Ebor Handicap (2800m) on August 19.

Stablemates Age Of Aquarius and Johann Zoffany are also likely to use the Ebor as a testing ground for the Melbourne Cup.

American-trained mare Black Mamba is all but a certain Cup runner. She is also entered for the Cox Plate and will run in this weekend’s Beverly D (1900m).

Richard Dutrow Jnr, trainer of America’s former superstar three-year-old Big Brown, has entered Court Vision for the Melbourne Cup.

Jordon said Japanese trainer Akira Murayama wanted to show his support for the spring carnival and nominated three horses despite quarantine restrictions not allowing the participation of Japanese horses.

Jordon said he was hopeful that Group One-placed Voila Ici, the first Italian-trained horse to be entered for the Cups, would run in one or both races.

Local Cup entries include 2007 Melbourne Cup winner Efficient and Caulfield Cup winner Master O’Reilly, Efficient’s stablemate and last year’s Melbourne Cup placegetter C’est La Guerre and dual Derby winner Rebel Raider.

David Hayes has 14 Cup entries including former English stayer Alessandro Volta.

Among Lee Freedman’s 10 entries is former English stayer and Flemington winner Speed Gifted.

Cox Plate entries include past winners Maldivian and El Segundo as well as Dubai World Cup runner-up and Singapore Cup winner Gloria De Campeo, Singapore Derby winner Jolies Shinju and Hong Kong-trained stablemates Mr Medici and Packing Winner.

Article by Robert Windmill Aapracing

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