After a record number of international gallopers were nominated for both the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate 2014 this week, Racing Victoria’s international recruiter Leigh Jordon has named Mukhadram as the international he’d most likely to see line-up in the latter.
The William Haggas-trained Shamardal stallion is one of the headline Northern Hemisphere-trained horses among the 225 entries taken for this year’s $3 million Group 1 Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m).
Numbers for the Moonee Valley classic held on Saturday October 25 were up from 158 last year and include 29 internationals, up from only 12 last spring, who will be looking to become the first non-Southern Hemisphere-trained Cox Plate winner in history.
2014 Cox Plate international entries include runners from the UK (16), Ireland (7), France (5) and Hong Kong (1).
The $3 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) also drew record numbers for the 2014 edition of the handicap clash that runs the week before the Cox Plate with 44 internationals featuring in the 221 entries up from just 20 in 2013.
2014 Caulfield Cup international entries include runners from the UK (35), Ireland (9), Japan (3), Germany (1) and Hong Kong (1).
Four of the overseas-trained hopes for the Cox Plate were among the 10 invited by Racing Victoria when they sent out their Cox Plate international invitees earlier in the year.
While there’s been plenty of talk about the John Moore-trained Singapore Cup winner Dan Excel, a favourite of Sydney-based Tommy Berry who rode them to their Group 1 win overseas last start, Jordan is also talking up five-year-old Mukhadram.
“He’s rated 123 and would be the top-rated international horse out of the Cox Plate noms,” Jordon said on Tuesday.
The Newmarket-based British galloper is also a Group 1 champion having won the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (2018m) at Sandown Park in early July by two lengths in a strong performance.
Their most recent effort was then at the end of last month at Ascot when third behind Taghrooda who quickened late to take out eh Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2414m).
Australia’s leading bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au had Dan Excel installed as a $17 chance in their futures Cox Plate odds before yesterday’s nominations while Mukhadram hadn’t been added to the markets.
Now that they feature in the official nominations however the updated Cox Plate betting markets are sure to feature the international Jordon would most like to see make the trip to Melbourne.
As for the Caulfield Cup, three international visitors have taken it out over the years with Taufan’s Melody (1998), All The Good (2008) and Dunaden (2012).
Key raiders nominated this year looking to be the fourth include last year’s runner-up Dandino, Japan Cup placegetter in 2013 Admire Rakti, Mukhadram who could also run in the race leading up to the Cox Plate, Dan Excel who is the same story, Goodwood Cup winner from last week Cavalryman and last year’s Melbourne Cup third placed veteran Mount Athos.
The increased presence of internationals in this year’s Caulfield Cup nominations has been put down to the Melbourne Racing Club’s $500,000 increase to the prizemoney, and their extension of prizemoney paid down to 10th instead of eighth.
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