Benbatl leads European charge for spring riches
THE house-full sign will go up at the Werribee Horse Centre next month after confirmation 27 horses have entered quarantine in the UK and Ireland before heading to Melbourne.
The contenders include some of the big names who were mooted to come to Australia, headed by Benbatl, Best Solution and Cliffs Of Moher
Racing Victoria's international recruiter Paul Bloodworth said it was satisfying to again see horses from the world's leading stables eyeing the big prizes in Melbourne.
He said it was a high quality contingent with 16 of the 27 boasting an international rating of 110 or more.
Bloodworth said Godolphin's Benbatl, who will contest the Cox Plate and is $26 with TAB, had an international rating of 123 and would be the second-highest rated raider to participate in the Spring Racing Carnival.
Benbatl's trainer Saeed bin Suroor has also placed Best Solution in quarantine in Newmarket.
Best Solution has won his past three starts, including the Group 1 Grand Preis von Baden (2400m) in Germany, and will contest the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
Godolphin will also send several runners out with Charlie Appleby, including promising stayers Cross Counter and Hamada.
The world's best trainer, Aidan O'Brien, has placed five horses in quarantine in Ireland in his private facility, including 2017 English Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher.
Roger Charlton has entered Northumberland Plate winner Withhold, who is second favourite for the Melbourne Cup, into quarantine.
Ed Dunlop, who trained Red Cadeaux to finish second in three Melbourne Cups, will be returning with Red Verdon.
Bloodworth said: "It's very satisfying to again see horses from some of the world's leading stables targeting our carnival, as well as newcomers such as Charlie Fellowes, who has Prince Of Arran, hoping to share in the record prizemoney on offer in our major races."
Two Japanese horses, Chestnut Coat and Sole Impact, also entered quarantine in Japan on Friday.
The 27 from the United Kingdom and Ireland will arrive at the Werribee Horse Centre on September 29, while the Japanese pair will arrive two days later.
With three horses already at Werribee from the Charlie Appleby stable, that will take the centre to 32 horses, which is maximum capacity.