The Mailbag: Internationals Preview

A heap of international talent has arrived in Australia for the 2018 Spring Carnival. Racing experts from  The Mailbag are here help you keep track of their form and what they’re prepping for over the coming weeks.

Check out the Betfair Hub and the Betfair Exchange for the latest odds.


Chestnut Coat (Yoshito Yahagi)

4YO Colt
17 starts: 4 wins 6 placings
Overview: 
A promising Japanese raider with top-class Japanese formlines. Won twice staging over 2200m and 2400m this year before running a close second in Group 2 class and a well-rated fifth in the Group 1 Tenno Sho in April. Looking for the 3200m and will appreciate a strongly run Melbourne Cup.

Target Race

Caulfield Cup (12th in Order of Entry)

Melbourne Cup (14th in Order of Entry)


Sole Impact (Hirofuma Toda)

6YO Gelding
37 starts: 4 wins 17 placings
Overview: 
A Group 2 placed Japanese import that has been matching it with the very best in Japan for the past two years, Sole Impact has strong results on the board between 2000–3400m. Failed to fire in the Tenno Sho early this year and would need to find his very best form to be considered a winning chance in either major this year.

Target Race

Caulfield Cup (29th in Order of Entry)

Melbourne Cup (38th in Order of Entry)


Danon Distance (Trainer to be advised)

4YO Colt
15 starts: 4 wins 2 placings
Overview: 
Group 2 placed Japanese import performs best over 2000–2400m. Got a win on the board in February back in class over the 2000m distance at Kyoto. A trainer is yet to be named and the horse hasn’t yet been nominated for any races. We may not see this colt appear this Spring, so one to watch for the future.

Target Race: Unknown


Marathon Man (Mike Moroney)

4YO Colt
15 starts: 4 wins 2 placings
Overview: 
Performs well on both Good and Heavy tracks and heads out to Australia off a good 2nd over 2000m in Group 3 company at Longchamp. Looks a progressive type whose strong turn of foot should be well suited to Australian racing.

Target Race: Unknown


Langley (Darren Weir)

7YO Gelding
10 starts: 1 win 4 placings
Overview: 
Full brother to the world-conquering traveller Real Steel, this Japanese import hasn’t hit the finishing line first since winning the 1600m Rakuyo Stakes in early 2016. Difficult to measure this horse having not placed in his past 13 runs.

Target Race: Unknown


Gustavus Vassa (Team Hayes)

4YO Gelding
10 starts: 1 win 4 placings
Overview: 
A top level handicapper in Ireland this preparation. Started favourite last race in his only Listed-grade appearance and was luckless, untested to the line. Runs best between 1800–2400m.

Target Race: Unknown


Fleet Review (Aidan O’Brien)

3YO Colt
12 starts: 3 wins 4 placings
Overview: 
Gone to a new level this preparation with a Group 1 placing in the July Cup at Newmarket behind The Everest runner US Navy Flag along with winning a Listed race in Curragh. Best runs in the past have been at 1200m and will be held to sprint distances in Australia.

Target Race

 The Schillaci


Intelligence Cross (Aidan O’Brien)

4YO Colt
20 starts: 3 wins 4 placings
Overview: 
An inconsistent horse, having been beaten by seven lengths or further in four of his five runs this preparation. His one good run in Listed grade saw him beaten a nose behind the stablemate Fleet Review. Needs to find his best to measure up.

Target Race

 The Schillaci


Spirit of Valor (Aidan O’Brien)

4YO Colt
16 starts: 2 wins 5 placings
Overview: 
A Group 2 winner over 1400m last preparation on a firm surface. Deep into his preparation and hasn’t produced his very best form since May when beaten only a length behind Merchant Navy. Will need to target races within his ability and may have found one first up in Australia.

Target Race

The Schillaci


Prize Money (Saeed bin Suroor)

5YO Gelding
17 starts: 4 wins 3 placings
Overview: 
Looked a world-class horse three preparations back when winning the Group 2 2400m Dubai City Gold and then running 4th behind the likes of Postponed and Jack Hobbs. Returned his best figures in over a year last time out at Windsor but needs to continue improving to measure up in Australia.


Target Race

Herbert Power

Caulfield Cup (103nd in Order of Entry)

Melbourne Cup (57th in Order of Entry)


Emotionless (Charlie Appleby)

5YO Gelding
10 starts: 3 wins 3 placings
Overview: 
A well-travelled horse with preparations in the UK and Dubai. Returned to action in July with a high rating Listed win over 2000m at Newbury. His last Group class victory came in 2015, so while the horse is handicapped to get runs in both Cups, it’s hard to count him as a winning contender at this stage. Pulled up lame in training at Werribee, so a Caulfield Cup run is unlikely.

Target Race

Caulfield Cup (13tht in Order of Entry)

Melbourne Cup (21st in Order of Entry)


Benbatl (Saeed bin Suroor)

4YO Colt
14 starts: 6 wins 2 placings
Overview: 
This well-travelled colt is no stranger to new surroundings and, by all reports, has settled in well. Scoring Group 1 victories at Meydan and Munich this year, his very best runs were on good surfaces. If he brings his A-game, he will be extremely competitive in the Caulfield Stakes and will be one of the clear favourites in the Winx out markets for the Cox Plate.

Target Race

Caulfield Stakes

Cox Plate


Comicas (Charlie Appleby)

5YO Gelding
16 starts: 4 wins 7 placing
Overview: 
Group 3 winner in Dubai over 1200m on the all-weather surface. A really un-genuine horse who requires a jockey push him along the whole race to remain in contention. As such, his performances are wildly inconsistent and his very best is around the Group 3 level. Will be stepping out over 1400m at Caulfield on Guineas day.

Target Race: Unknown


Cross Counter (Charlie Appleby)

3YO Gelding
7 starts: 4 wins 3 placings
Overview: 
Progressed through the grades admirably with a four-and-a-half length Group 3 win in the 2400m Qatar Gordon Stakes at Goodwood in August. Beaten by a head last start in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes with the smart Kew Gardens a distant 3rd. Settled in well at Werribee and is expected to be even better over the 3200m.

Target Race

Melbourne Cup (19th in Order of Entry)


Duretto (Andrew Balding)

6YO Gelding
21 starts: 6 wins 6 placings
Overview: 
Group 2 placed in the Princess of Wales behind Mirage Dancer and Best Solution, beating home Muntahaa as well. Took a step up in distance and back in class to score well in Listed grade last start. Should start in both Cups.

Target Race

Caulfield Cup (18th in Order of Entry)

Melbourne Cup (24th in Order of Entry)


Count Octave (Andrew Balding)

4YO Colt
11 starts: 2 wins 5 placings
Overview: 
A lightly raced colt who ran a very brave 2nd behind Stradivarius in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup Stakes last start at York recording a career peak run over the Melbourne Cup distance. Performs best on a Good to Firm track and sits on speed. May need to win a penalty or qualifier race for a run in the Melbourne Cup.

Target Race: 

Caulfield Cup (19th in Order of Entry)

Melbourne Cup (30th in Order of Entry)


Prince Of Arran (Charlie Fellowes)

5YO Gelding
26 starts: 4 wins 8 placings
Overview: 
Prince of Arran has won just one race in his last 14 attempts. Placed only once in Group 3 class, his ratings were enhanced on an all-weather surface at Newcastle, running 2nd to Withhold. Expect to see him to be aimed at penalty/qualifier races with the first of them being the Herbert Power.

Herbert Power

Caulfield Cup (27th in Order of Entry)

Melbourne Cup (42nd in Order of Entry)


Red Verdon (Ed Dunlop)

5YO Gelding
24 starts: 5 wins 8 placings
Overview: 
Red Verdon is yet to land a Group class win, with three 2nds in Group 2 class over staying distances in his past five runs. A horse comfortable on all surfaces, Red Verdon will most likely need to win a qualifying race along the way – and then still improve significantly – to be a Melbourne Cup contender. The horses best runs have come on the all weather surface.

Target Race 

Caulfield Cup (20th in Order of Entry)

Melbourne Cup (29th in Order of Entry)


Best Solution (Saeed bin Suroor)

4YO Colt
21 starts: 8 wins 4 placings
Overview: 
This well-travelled Godolphin colt has competed in England, France, Germany and the United Arab Emirates, so expect the flight to Australia to take very little out of him. This Godolphin runner has had three runs this preparation, including a Group 2 win in England and two Group 1 wins in Germany over the 2400m distance range. While he has been lumped with 57.5kg, it is truly deserved.

Target Race

Caulfield Cup (1st in Order of Entry) – Secured a run

Melbourne Cup (3rd in Order of Entry) – Secured a run

 


Yucatan (Aidan O’Brien)

4YO Colt
12 starts: 2 wins 4 placings
Overview: 
Group 3 winner of the 2000m Finlay Volvo International Stakes at Curragh before being fairly beaten in the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes in a four-horse race. Needs to show something yet seen in England and Ireland to be competitive at the top level and will need to win a qualifying race for a Melbourne Cup start.

Target Race

Herbert Power

Caulfield Cup (36th in order of Entry)

Melbourne Cup (55th in Order of Entry)


Cliffs Of Moher (Aidan O’Brien)

4YO Colt
15 starts: 3 wins 2 placings
Overview: 
Ran a career peak 12 runs back in the 2400m Group 1 Investec Derby at Epsom when 2nd behind stablemate Wings of Eagles, defeating Cracksman by a neck on that day. He has since won the Group 2 Mooresbridge Stakes at Naas and last start in early July recorded his best run since the Derby, finishing 3rd behind Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior in the 2000m Group 1 Eclipse at Sandown Park.

Target Race

Caulfield Stakes

Caulfield Cup (6th in Order of Entry) – Secured a run

Melbourne Cup (5th in Order of Entry) – Secured a run


Withhold (Roger Charlton)

5YO Colt
11 starts: 4 wins 4 placings
Overview: 
An early favourite for the Melbourne Cup after winning the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle by 2.75 lengths. This smart gelding is an out and out stayer but is yet to produce a run worthy of winning the Melbourne Cup and has been handicapped accordingly. He will need to win a lead-in race to quality and make his mark on the Melbourne Spring Carnival. If he does manage to qualify for the Melbourne Cup, his performances at Newbury and Haydock over 3200m in the past suggest he has no troubles with the distance.

Target Race

Melbourne Cup (37th in Order of Entry)


Finche (Chris Waller)

4YO Colt
8 starts: 3 wins 0 placings
Overview
A lightly raced Frankel colt who made his mark in early August, dictating terms from out front when winning the Group 3 Prix De Reux at Deauville by 1.75 lengths. Big doubts hang over his head as to whether he can handle the Australian tempo from an on-speed position. Ran third behind Cracksman and Avilius in a Group 2 last September in France. Requires another weight penalty to get a run in either Cup.

Target Race

Caulfield Cup (22nd in Order of Entry)

Melbourne Cup (31st in Order of Entry)


Sound Check (Mike Moroney)

5YO Gelding
6 starts: 2 wins 1 placing
Overview: 
He seems to have turned a corner this preparation and has looked best when kept between 2000m and 2400m distances. With a solid 3rd placing in the Group 3 Grosser Preis Von Lotto Hamburg under his belt, and a close 2nd in the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Berlin, he’ll meet Best Solution in the Caulfield Cup 2kg better off for the 0.2L defeat.

Target Race

Caulfield Cup (9th in Order of Entry) – Secured a run

Melbourne Cup (15th in Order of Entry) – Secured a run


Master of Reality (Joseph O'Brien)

3YO Gelding
6 starts: 2 wins 1 placing
Overview: 
After being transferred from the Bary stable in France, he was beaten by 11 lengths in the Group 3 Paddy’s Rewards Club Stakes at Leopardstown on his first outing for his current stable. The lowest rated runner to be shipped out to Australia, Master of Reality is the travelling partner of Latrobe, which is the main reason for his flight out.

Target Race

Lexus Stakes
Melbourne Cup (Not passed ballot)


Magic Circle (Ian Williams)

6YO Gelding
21 starts: 8 wins 3 placings
Overview: 
Undoubtedly the surprise improver of 2018, Magic Circle finished 2017 as a handicapper with ratings that would barely measure up in an off-season staying race in Australia. After moving to the Ian Williams’ stable, this big rangy horse returned in May with an impressive six-length handicap victory on a good surface at Chester, before moving up to Group 3 company two weeks later to demolish a reasonable field by 6 lengths on a soft surface in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown Park. He was immediately put on ice with the owners knowing he had done more than enough to secure a slot for his ultimate run, the Melbourne Cup.

Target Race

Melbourne Cup (8th in Order of Entry) – Secured a run


Muntahaa (John Gosden)

5YO Gelding
15 starts: 4 wins 4 placings
Overview: 
Looked a promising type back in April of 2017, winning the Group 3 John Porter, but hadn’t produced a decent run until August of 2018, when setting a significant career peak performance at York, winning the Ebor by 3.25 lengths over 2800m. Performs best on firm tracks and if he can produce a run similar to that produced in the Ebor, he should cap his year with a competitive run in the Melbourne Cup.

Target Race

Melbourne Cup (13th in Order of Entry) – Secured a run


Marmelo (Hughie Morrison)

5YO Gelding
16 starts: 5 wins 6 placings
Overview: 
A consistent staying type that has scored Group wins in the Prix De Barbeville at Chantilly, the Prix Kergorlay at Deauville and recently the Prix Maurice De Nieuil at Longchamp. Four of his last seven race runs would measure up very well in the past three years Melbourne Cup runs, and he comes to Australia off an equal career peak rating.

Target Race

Melbourne Cup (18th in Order of Entry) – Secured a run


Nakeeta (Iain Jardine)

7YO Gelding
7 starts: 5 wins 9 placings
Overview: 
Ran a respectable 5th in the Melbourne Cup last year but, over similar distances, hasn’t been able to run a place in five runs since. Hasn’t produced a run worthy of running a place in the Melbourne Cup and will struggle to gain a slot without winning a weight penalty or auto-qualification race.

Target Race

Melbourne Cup (36th in Order of Entry)


Latrobe (Joseph O'Brien)

3YO Colt
7 starts: 2 wins 4 placings
Overview: 
A real surprise this preparation, going from a maiden win to a Group 1 victory in the 2400m Irish Derby. In September he made the move up to 2800m for the Group 1 Irish St Leger and ran a respectable 2nd behind Flag Of Honour. Performs best on the firm surfaces Flemington is likely to dish up and will stay over 3200m.

Target Race

Melbourne Cup (6th in Order of Entry) – Secured a run


Rostropovich (Aidan O'Brien)

3YO Colt
12 starts: 4 wins 2 placings
Overview: 
A real wild card runner for the O’Brien camp, Rostropovich hasn’t been seen beyond the 2400m distance range yet holds nominations for both the Melbourne Cup and the Cox Plate. A colt by champion sire Frankel, he ran a close 2nd to Latrobe in the Group 1 Irish Derby over 2400m and has since won the Group 3 Club Stakes at Leopardstown. Looks to be a real spring contender if Aidan O’Brien can find a few lengths in this colt pushing up to the 3200m.

Target Race

Melbourne Cup (16th in Order of Entry) – Secured a run

Cox Plate


Idaho (Aidan O'Brien)

5YO Gelding
23 starts: 4 wins 6 placings
Overview: 
Winner of the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes at Chester over 2700m in May, Idaho had 8 runs since March without a break, recently running 5th by seven lengths in the Irish St Leger. He placed 3rd in the Group 1 Goodwood Cup behind Stradivarius in July, but was beaten by 6.5 lengths over 3200m and will need to hit peak form over the longer distances to measure up to some of the other internationals.

Target Race

Melbourne Cup (7th in Order of Entry) – Secured a run


The Pentagon (Aidan O'Brien)

3YO Colt
10 starts: 2 wins 2 placings
Overview: 
Winner of the Group 3 Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown over 1400m in July 2017 and placing in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy Stakes over 1600m at Doncaster in October 2017. He has since failed on four attempts to finish better than 5th at 2400m or above and would need significant improvement to be a Spring Group 1 contender.

Target Race

Lexus Stakes
Melbourne Cup (Not passed ballot)


Blair House (Charlie Appleby)

15 starts: 4 wins 6 placings
Overview: 
Blair House arrived in Victoria on the first shipment of Charlie Appleby runners from Dubai where he recorded his maiden Group 1 win over 1800m in March on a firm surface beating Benbatl. Initially unsuited and slow out of the gates in Australia, he finished 4th in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes, but has since returned to form and could take on Winx in the Cox Plate.

Target Race

Caulfield Stakes

Cox Plate

Emirates Stakes


Folkswood (Charlie Appleby)

18 starts: 5 wins 7 placings
Overview: 
Ran 3rd behind Winx last year in the Cox Plate and has since won the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes. His last two runs have been well below his best, failing to place in Group 1 class in Dubai and, once back in Australia, pulled up lame and finished last at Caulfield.

Target Race: Unknown due to lameness


Jungle Cat (Charlie Appleby)

31 starts: 8 wins 11 placings
Overview: 
Four starts for four wins in 2018 including the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint over 1200m in Dubai and the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes over 1400m at Caulfield. The stable has set him up perfectly all year and while the step up to 1600m in the Toorak is uncharted territory, he looks capable of taking on the longer distance.

Target Race

Toorak Handicap

Cantala Stakes

Darley Classic (if doesn’t handle the 1600m)


Dal Harraild (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace)

5YO Gelding
19 starts: 6 wins 5 placings
Overview: 
A UK-listed winner who has previously failed to place in any group race. Was flown to Dubai early this year and was disappointing. Best run in the past over 2800m is good enough to be competitive in group class, but recent formlines, including running last in a six-horse field at Newbury last start, makes it difficult to consider him a contender.

Target Race

Caulfield Cup (31st in Order of Entry)

Melbourne Cup (49th in Order of Entry)

 


Pharrell (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace)

3YO Colt
8 starts: 4 wins 1 placing
Overview: 
A lightly raced 3YO French import who acts well on heavy and good tracks. Scored the Group 3 win in the Prix Noailles over 2100m and looks a nice staying prospect for the future. On ratings and runs to date, he is currently below what is required to be competing at the top level.

Target Race: Unknown


Casterton (Chris Waller)

4YO Colt
13 starts: 3 wins 4 placings
Overview: 
Group 3 placed French import who performs well on Good and Heavy tracks. Suited to 2000–3200m distances, but without improvement will only measure up to Listed/Group 3 level races. Will need to win a qualification race to get a run in the Melbourne Cup this year.

Target Race

Melbourne Cup (57th in Order of Entry)


Shraaoh (Chris Waller) 5YO Gelding

5YO Gelding
13 starts: 2 wins 4 placings
Overview: 
UK handicapper. Current formlines suggest Shraaoh is well below the levels required to enter to Group class. He was beaten 7 lengths behind Hamada in an open handicap at Goodwood over 2800m.

Target Race: Unknown


Related Articles

Betfair Insider Racing Preview

The Betfair Insider is your weekly racing preview with expert commentary on the race, a best selection and a ...

Feature Race Reports

Feature Race Reports and Form Guides are exclusive to Betfair Australia and Punting Form.

Racing Prediction Model

Our Data Scientists have been working on a Horse Racing Tips model. The Racing Model analyses up to 30 ...