Numbers sound for Spring Racing Carnival majors

A whiff of spring is in the air with Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup nominations being taken.

TWILIGHT PAYMENT. Picture: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images

The reigning winners of last year's spring majors have been entered to defend their titles which feature a reduced list of internationally-trained horses. 

Entries closed on Tuesday for the Caulfield Cup, the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup with the winners of those races, Verry Elleegant, Sir Dragonet and Twilight Payment featuring among nominations. 

It was expected nominations would be severely affected with new pre-travel protocols following a review into the death of Anthony Van Dyck in last year's Melbourne Cup. 

The Melbourne Cup attracted the same number of entries as last year, 174, however only 15 of these were from overseas, compared to 30 last year. 

The Caulfield Cup saw their nominations drop from 177 to 170, nine internationals compared to 34 last year, while the Cox Plate was the hardest hit, down from 182 to 154, with just four of those from overseas compared to 28 last year. 

Greg Carpenter, Racing Victoria's Executive General Manager – Racing, said it was pleasing to see the defending champions headline the entries for the Cups and Cox Plate. 

"We're very pleased with the nominations received today across all the feature races and whilst the international contingent is down on quantity, as expected, the nominations from abroad remain high on quality," Carpenter said. 

"The challenges presented by the COVID pandemic both internationally and domestically in terms of travel cannot be underestimated. 

"This is the year of opportunity. Take the Cox Plate for example. Five of the first six home in last year's race won't be running this year, paving the way for new challengers to Sir Dragonet to emerge. 

"There are great opportunities for hometown heroes to be created this Spring." 

Steve Rosich, chief executive of the VRC, said the club was pleased with the number of entries for the Melbourne Cup. 

"Despite the challenges of travel and quarantine in the current environment, we are really pleased with the high-quality list of entrants and to equal the total number of nominations from last year with 15 international nominations is a great result," Rosich said. 


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