Big Irish interest in Melbourne Cup as Aidan O'Brien enters Kew Gardens among his 11 hopefuls
There could be plenty of Irish interest in this year's Lexus Melbourne Cup with flat king Aidan O'Brien leading the way with 11 entries, including last year's English St Leger winner Kew Gardens.
The Ballydoyle maestro – yet to win the race that stops a nation in one of the rare blanks on his glittering training CV – could also saddle the likes of Magic Wand, Norway and Hunting Horn after nominations were released earlier today.
This year's showpiece – which takes place on November 5 and is worth nearly €5million – has attracted 39 overseas entries in a total of 152 and among them is O'Brien's Il Paridiso.
After a career-best when beaten just under two lengths by staying king Stradivarius in last week's Lonsdale Cup at York, the son of Gailieo sprung up the market to second favourite for this year's St Leger and could follow that with a trip Down Under.
O'Brien was just touched off by his son Joseph two years ago when Rekindling landed his breakthrough success and the 26-year-old jockey turned trainer has another impressive team headed by last year's Irish Derby hero Latrobe.
The nominations for the 159th Melbourne Cup sees the first seven horses home in last year's renewal once again entered with the Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter bidding for back-to-back successes, the first since hat-trick queen Makybe Diva (2003-'05).
Champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins – second with Max Dynamite in 2015 – has a sole entry in True Self with the mare last seen when chasing home Mustajeer in the lucrative Ebor Handicap at York.
Then trained by Ger Lyons, Mustajeer was purchased by The Australian Bloodstock Syndicate to tackle the Melbourne Cup and will arrive on Australian soil on September 28 where the exciting six-year-old will be trained by Kris Lees.
Another intriguing contender is Stivers with two-time Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Dermot Weld (who became the first international winner with the mighty Vintage Crop in 1993) hoping to etch his name further into Australian racing history.