Strong European and Japanese entry prepares to face up to Winx and company
Ten Group races staged across two Randwick cards on April 7 & 14
The increasing international appeal of Sydney's two Championships meetings on April 7 and 14 was illustrated on Monday when the names of Aidan O'Brien, William Haggas and Noriyuki Hori featured among a record number of nominations for its ten Group races.
Australia's undoubted champion Winx will be a formidable obstacle for any connections eyeing the richest prize across two consecutive Saturdays, the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes on April 14.
Foreign-trained entries for the A$4 million (£2.3m/€2.6m) feature include the O'Brien duo Deauville and War Decree, both of whom are also engaged in the Star Doncaster Mile seven days earlier, as well as the Ken Condon-trained Success Days, a Group 2 winner at York last August.
O'Brien has engaged five horses across the two days in total, with Spirit Of Valor and Washington DC potential runners in the TJ Smith Stakes, and War Secretary also entering calculations for the Doncaster Mile.
Japanese trainers have also been tempted by the rich purses on offer for what will be the fifth edition of the Randwick double-header, with the Queen Elizabeth entries featuring Sunday's Kyoto Kinen victor Clincher, as well as the Hori-trained Satono Crown, one of the country's top middle-distance performers over the last two seasons.
The Haggas-trained Dal Harraild, and Red Verdon from the Ed Dunlop yard, both have entries in the Group 1 Schweppes Sydney Cup, a race won last year by Charlie Appleby.
Appleby has nominated Rare Rhythm for the two-mile test, while stablemates Bravo Zolo and Toormore appear among the entries for the Doncaster Mile on April 7.
Racing New South Wales chief executive Peter V'landys described the Championships as "the grand finals of racing in this country," before adding: "It's also very pleasing to see a marked increase in interest from international stables this year after nearly 40 overseas horses were nominated."
For complete coverage of racing and bloodstock in Australia and New Zealand, download ANZ Bloodstock News every day http://www.anzbloodstocknews.com/issue