Kiwis well represented in spring majors
Nominations for the Gr.1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m) and Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) were received on Tuesday, with the three reigning champions Verry Elleegant (Caulfield Cup), Sir Dragonet (Cox Plate) and Twilight Payment (Melbourne Cup) headlining a star-studded list of nominations for the marquee races of the 2021 Victorian Spring Racing Carnival.
Seven-time Group One winner Verry Elleegant took her place at the top of the 170-strong list of contenders for the $5 million Caulfield Cup on 16 October. The New Zealand-bred daughter of Zed has also been nominated for the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
Sir Dragonet is one of 153 gallopers, including 43 three-year-olds (38 from the southern hemisphere and five from the northern hemisphere), in the running to claim The Valley's showpiece event on 23 October.
Twilight Payment, who delivered a second Melbourne Cup last year for his Irish trainer Joseph O'Brien and a seventh for his part-owner Lloyd Williams, is one of two previous winners among the 174 horses nominated for the nation's most famous race at Flemington on Tuesday, 2 November, alongside 2019 winner Vow And Declare.
The Caulfield Cup features New Zealand-trained nominations Ocean Billy (Bill Pomare), Beauden (Team Rogerson), Amarelinha (Jamie Richards), Quick Thinker (Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman) and The Chosen One (Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman).
The Caulfield Cup features 38 New Zealand-bred nominations.
The Cox Plate features New Zealand-trained nominations Elephant (Emma-Lee & David Browne), Amarelinha (Jamie Richards), Avantage (Jamie Richards), Probabeel (Jamie Richards), Callsign Mav (John Bary), Dragon Leap (Lance O'sullivan & Andrew Scott), Quick Thinker (Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman) and The Frontman (Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman).
The Cox Plate features 34 New Zealand-bred nominations.
The Melbourne Cup features New Zealand-trained nominations Ocean Billy (Bill Pomare), Beauden (Team Rogerson), Quick Thinker (Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman), The Chosen One (Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman) and Sherwood Forest (Tony Pike).
The Melbourne Cup features 34 New Zealand bred nominations.
Big spring tipped for Impecunious
Trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young are looking forward to the spring with New Zealand-bred mare Impecunious.
The daughter of Sacred Falls placed in both the Gr.2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) and Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill in autumn and her trainers believe she is capable of her first stakes scalp this spring.
Impecunious pleased when winning her 760m jumpout on the synthetic track at Cranbourne on Monday and will likely have another next week before her raceday resumption.
Busuttin and Young are eyeing the Gr.2 Let's Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington as their mare's first major assignment of spring.
"She's come back really well actually, she's filled out a lot more and she's carrying more condition, which is what you expect after having a nice, long break," Young told Racing.com.
"That was her first trial this time in and she may have another at the officials next Monday.
"She'll kick off at Sandown, I think it's a benchmark 78 handicap over 1300m where she'll carry a bit of weight and then her target will be the Let's Elope Stakes at Flemington.
"She's still quite sharp and she's normally pretty good those first couple of runs in her preparation.
"We'll look at races over a mile and 2000m after that and see what there is for her."
Impecunious was initially trained in New Zealand by Michael and Matthew Pitman for whom she won impressively at Riccarton prior to her partial sale to Australia, with South Island owner Chris Griffin remaining in the ownership.