German raider turned Australian-trained staying champion and Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist is the headline nomination taken for the Australian Cup 2015 this week, the Flemington feature to run in mid-March on Super Saturday.
A key meeting of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, March 14 will be host to a number of feature races including the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) for the sprinters and the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) for the staying types.
Four length winner of the world’s richest handicap, the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) back in November, the now Kris Lees-trained import Protectionist is the early Australian Cup favourite of the 69 nominations taken.
If successful Protectionist will join an elite list of Melbourne Cup – Australian Cup double winners from a single season along with: Fiorente (2013-14), Makybe Diva (2004-05) and Let’s Elope (1991-92).
Trainer Gai Waterhouse did it last year with Fiorente and has four Australian Cup chances in 2015 including French import Pornichet who won the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m) in mid-November and her Magic Millions Cup winner Spurtonic.
The two horses Protectionist beat over the line in the Melbourne Cup trifecta from the spring are also nominated for the Australian Cup this autumn with the British-trained runner-up Red Cadeaux and Who Shot Thebarman from the Sydney stables of Chris Waller.
Cadeaux Genereux eight-year-old Red Cadeaux entered the history books when running second in a Melbourne Cup for a third time in four years last season.
After that he travelled to Sha Tin for a sixth behind Flintshire in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase, a trip to Melbourne for an autumn raid next on the agenda for the Ed Dunlop-trained veteran.
“We’re obviously delighted to see Germany’s historic Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist among the Australian Cup entries and to have received an international nomination from Red Cadeaux who has won a legion of fans here over the past four years,” Racing Victoria Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter said.
“We note that trainer Ed Dunlop is yet to confirm his plans for Red Cadeaux so we are hopeful that he elects to bring the horse back to Melbourne for the Australian Cup and if not, maybe for a fifth Melbourne Cup later in the year.”
Who Shot Thebarman is then one of a bumper 11 Australian Cup nominations for Waller.
The Yamanin Vital six-year-old won the Bart Cummings Stakes in early October before failing to fire when 13th in the Caulfield Cup.
The Auckland Cup winning Kiwi expat however atoned in the ‘race that stops a nation’ when third in the Melbourne Cup in his latest start.
Another major spring carnival trifecta is also in the Australian Cup mix this season with the first three over the line in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington from November 1.
Waller’s Zabeel colt Preferment beat home the Danny O’Brien-trained Bondeiger and Lee & Anthony Freedman’s Geelong Classic winner Nozomi in the three-year-olds’ classic and the trio will be out to show their stuff against older rivals next time in.
Along with Who Shot Thebarman and Preferment some of Waller’s other major Australian Cup hopes include eight-year-old Bagman, Doomben Cup champ Beaten Up, Underwood Stakes winner Foreteller and Epsom Handicap victor He’s Your Man.
As well as triple Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux, Godolphin add more international flavor to the race nominating for imports – Coral-Eclipse third placegetter It’s Somewhat and Queen’s Vase winner over the two miles at Royal Ascot Hartnell.
“They are high quality horses who have not raced since the English St Leger last September and will add an intriguing dimension if they take their place on Super Saturday,” Carpenter said of the duo.
Other notable Australian Cup nominees include Peter Moody’s Sandown Classic winner Au Revoir, their Group 1 performed stablemate Brambles, Perth’s Kingston Town Classic runner-up Disposition, last start Mackinnon Stakes winner Happy Trails, Australia Stakes winner from last weekend at 41-1 Mourinho, top Tasmanian galloper The Cleaner, Perth Cup winning mare Real Love and star New Zealander Puccini.
2015 Australian Cup first acceptances close at 12pm (AEDT) on Tuesday February 24.
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2015 Australian Cup Nominations
Flemington Racecourse – 14/03/2015
|1||AKZAR (IRE)||Darren Weir|
|2||AU REVOIR (IRE)||Peter G Moody|
|3||BACKSTEDT||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|5||BEATEN UP (GB)||Chris Waller|
|6||BIG MEMORY (FR)||Tony McEvoy|
|8||BRAMBLES (NZ)||Peter G Moody|
|9||BRING SOMETHING||Ken Keys|
|11||CONTRIBUTER (IRE)||John O’Shea|
|12||DIAMETRIC (IRE)||Chris Waller|
|13||DIAMOND DRILLE||Gai Waterhouse|
|14||DISCLAIMER (GB)||Peter & Paul Snowden|
|16||DON DOREMO (NZ)||Robbie Laing|
|17||ENTIRELY PLATINUM (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes|
|18||EPINGLE (NZ)||Michael Kent|
|20||EXTRA ZERO||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|21||FAST DRAGON||Bruce Wallace|
|22||FIREHOUSE ROCK||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|23||FORETELLER (GB)||Chris Waller|
|24||GAMBLIN’ GURU||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas|
|26||GREATWOOD (GB)||Gai Waterhouse|
|27||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara|
|28||HARTNELL (GB)||John O’Shea|
|31||HE’S YOUR MAN (FR)||Chris Waller|
|32||HONG KONG CAPTAIN||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|33||INDEX LINKED (GB)||Chris Waller|
|34||IT’S SOMEWHAT (USA)||John O’Shea|
|35||JACQUINOT BAY||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|36||JUNOOB (GB)||Chris Waller|
|37||LE ROI (GER)||Tony McEvoy|
|38||LIDARI (FR)||Peter G Moody|
|42||NOZOMI||Lee & Anthony Freedman|
|43||PETROLOGY||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|44||PORNICHET (FR)||Gai Waterhouse|
|45||PREFERMENT (NZ)||Chris Waller|
|46||PROTECTIONIST (GER)||Kris Lees|
|47||PUCCINI (NZ)||Peter & Jacob McKay|
|48||RAWNAQ||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|49||REAL LOVE||Adam Durrant|
|50||RED CADEAUX (GB)||Ed Dunlop|
|51||RED EXCITEMENT||Gerald Ryan|
|52||RINGO (NZ)||Mick Price|
|53||ROYAL DIAMOND (IRE)||John Sadler|
|54||SERTORIUS||Jamie Edwards & Bruce Elkington|
|55||SHUKA (NZ)||Peter J Williams|
|56||SMOKIN’ JOEY||Wez Hunter|
|58||SPILLWAY (GB)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|60||STAR ROLLING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison|
|61||STRATUM STAR||Darren Weir|
|63||TALES OF GRIMM (USA)||Sam Kavanagh|
|64||THE CLEANER||Mick Burles|
|65||TONOPAH (USA)||Darren Weir|
|66||TRANSFER ALLOWANCE||Peter Roche|
|67||WEARY (FR)||Chris Waller|
|68||WHISPER DOWNS||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|69||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller|