PRINCE of Penzance etched his name into racing history winning the 2015 Melbourne Cup for champion trainer Darren Weir, after being trained at his Warrnambool satellite stable.
Weir is trying to load all his bases this year in an attempt to snare the $7.3 million event, entering 28 horses when entries closed on Thursday for the race that stops a nation.
Many of his nominations are trained from his Warrnambool yard.
Japanese imports Admire Robson and Tosen Basil, Kings Will Dream and Group 1 winners Humidor and Sopressa are among a strong contingent of locally-trained horses set for the Caulfield and Melbourne cups for Victoria’s leading trainer.
Weir’s Warrnambool foreman Jarrod McLean told The Standard he was excited with the prospects leading into the first Tuesday in November.
“We’re a long way out to the Caulfield and Melbourne cups,” McLean said.
“There’s still a lot of water to go under the bridge but I could not be any happier with horses we’ve got aimed for the Melbourne and Caulfield cups.
“I really don’t want to go the early crow because so many things can go wrong.
“But the Japanese galloper Tosen Basil has really impressed me since he came out of quarantine.
“We’ve got a top group of horses for both races.”
McLean, who also has his own trainer’s license, entered the last-start Moonee Valley winner Trap For Fools and Romanesque for the big two-mile event.
Winslow-raised Ciaron Maher stable put in nominations for Dal Harraid and Wall Of Fire.
Increases in prizemoney saw a surge in entries for the 2018 Caulfield and Melbourne cups.
The Melbourne Cup, which was won by Rekindling last year, has risen from $6.3 million to $7.3 million in prizemoney this year.
It has attracted 183 entries – up from 140 in 2017 and the most since the nomination deadline was moved to late August in 2011.
The Caulfield Cup, which went to Boom Time last year, has been boosted by $2 million to $5.15 million.
It has welcomed 164 nominations – up from the 142 received when entries moved to the current deadline in 2017.
In a year in which the Spring Racing Carnival celebrates 25 years of international competition, the number of international entries has also skyrocketed as the world’s best stables eye the riches on offer in Melbourne.
International entries have risen from 31 to 50 for the Melbourne Cup and 22 to 27 for the Caulfield Cup.
Nominations have been received from England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany and Japan.