The 2011 Drake International Cup or Moonee Valley Cup is far and away one of the most important races this weekend.
While the 2011 Cox Plate will rightfully take centre stage and the appearance of Black Caviar in the Schweppes Stakes will also be a drawcard, the Drake International Cup has huge ramifications for the rest of the spring.
This will be the final time we see some of these horses before the 2011 Melbourne Cup and for others this is their last opportunity to force their way into the field.
A number of trainers are searching for a much needed boost in prize more and or ballot exemption and the 2011 Moonee Valley Cup is exactly what they need.
The race itself stretches for 2500m around the Valley with first prize collecting $150,000 of the $250,000 in prize money.
Looking through the list of nominations and it’s plain to see just how much quality has attacked the race, most notably defending Melbourne Cup champion Americain.
The Moonee Valley Cup will be the first time we see him on Australian soil this preparation as connections try out a different strategy to what worked so well in 2010.
That year they went to the Geelong Cup and won that before going straight into the Melbourne Cup.
This time they’ll have a slightly shorter break with the Moonee Valley Cup run three days later.
It’s far from a one horse show though and Herbert Power Stakes champion Shewan will be out to fly the Aussie flag.
In a year when a lot is being made about the number of internationals here for the Melbourne Cup, Shewan is a rare entry both bred and trained on our shores.
What’s more he’s also a genuine contender and could well win the 2011 Moonee Valley Cup.
Others to watch out for include Linton, Mourayan, Red Eye Special, Swooper and Caulfield Cup third place getter Tullamore.
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2011 Drake International Cup Nominations
|1||ABOVE AVERAGE (IRE)||Anthony Freedman||95|
|2||AKZAR (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||85|
|3||AMERICAIN (USA)||Alain de Royer Dupre||117|
|4||ANUDJAWUN (NZ)||Shaun Dwyer||89|
|5||AT FIRST SIGHT (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||106|
|6||BAUER (IRE)||Luca Cumani||103|
|7||BOOMING (NZ)||Jeff Lynds||105|
|8||HARRIS TWEED (NZ)||Murray Baker||108|
|9||ILLO (GER)||Bart Cummings||106|
|10||INNOCENT LADY (NZ)||Graeme Sanders||93|
|11||LALLA ROOKH||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||89|
|13||MONTAHLIA (NZ)||Michael Kent||89|
|14||MONTGOMERY (NZ)||Colin & Cindy Alderson||90|
|15||MOURAYAN (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||108|
|16||PADDY O’REILLY (NZ)||Robert Smerdon||99|
|17||PERGOLA (NZ)||Colin & Cindy Alderson||87|
|18||REBEL SOLDIER (IRE)||David Hayes||92|
|19||RED EYE SPECIAL (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||89|
|20||SAHARA SUN (CHI)||Luca Cumani||103|
|24||TULLAMORE (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||104|