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2020 Caulfield Cup entries dominated by Aidan O’Brien

Caulfield Cup
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The 2020 Caulfield Cup has increased despite the threat of the famous Melbourne Spring Carnival race being run behind closed doors due to the lockdown in the city – and are being dominated by Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien.

The global pandemic may been keeping horse racing punters away from the racetracks of Melbourne, including Caulfield, but it hasn’t dampened enthusiasm from trainers and owners ahead the 2020 Caulfield Cup.

The race takes place on October 17 at Caulfield Racecourse, and the positive signs are that interest is higher than 12 months ago with entries up from 153 to 177. That comes despite only a limited number of international stables permitted to enter the state of Victoria due to quarantine restrictions.

International travellers are still keen on going to the Caulfield Cup too but it remains to be seen if they will be able to due to flight cancellations and international restrictions.

International stables have entered 34 horses for the Caulfield Cup, with Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien and holding a significant number of them. The weights released this week showcase just how strong the Irish challenge is for this year’s edition of the Spring Carnival feature.

The top three weight horses in the race, which will be the 143rd Caulfield Cup, are trained by O’Brien. The 2019 Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck (58.5kg) and Japan (58.5kg) will carry top weight ahead of six-time Group 1 winner Magical (58kg).

The 2019 Irish Derby winner Sovereign has 57kg to carry, and the talented mare Magic Wand (55kg) and 2020 Irish Derby winner Santiago (53.5kg) add to O’Brien’s strong hand in the race should he run all possible contenders.

Leading opponents who could challenge the O’Brien cavalry include SA Derby winner Russian Camelot (53.5kg), Surprise Baby (54.5kg), Verry Elleegant (55kg), Master of Wine (53.5kg), Quick Thinker (53.5kg), Warning (53kg), Master of Reality (56kg), Twilight Payment (55.5kg), Buckhurst (55kg) and Adelaide Cup winner King of Leogrance (53.5kg).

After releasing the weights for the 2020 Caulfield Cup, Racing Victoria’s Greg Carpenter said: “Aidan’s O’Brien’s entries are the standouts on performances over the past 18 months and have been handicapped accordingly at the top of the weights for this year’s Stella Artois Caulfield Cup.

“The joint Caulfield Cup topweights Anthony Van Dyck and Japan were both Group 1 winners over 2400m in 2019 and have been placed behind the world’s highest rated horse Ghaiyyath this year.

“The outstanding Magical, who is a six-time Group 1 winner and nominated for the Caulfield Cup, has 58kg and will need to set a weight carrying record for a mare with Tranquil Star claiming that mark when winning the 1942 Caulfield Cup with 56kg.”

The participation of the international runners has been made possible thanks to special exemptions on travel agreed to by the Victorian government. Those rules will allow stable staff to travel with horses and quarantine for 14 days in a hotel.

A number of the international runners travelling to Australia for the Spring Carnival are on one-way tickets. They will remain Down Under after running in the Caulfield Cup or Melbourne Cup and switch stables to begin a new chapter of their careers.

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