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Godolphin at full strength for Melbourne

J A McGrath

Godolphin are set to launch their most competitive squad yet on Melbourne's Spring Racing Carnival, with a strong team of horses from Europe joining those based in Australia with John O'Shea to target the major prizes. 

Five horses trained by Saeed bin Suroor and five in the care of Charlie Appleby have been nominated for the G1 Emirates Melbourne Cup, while Tryster has accepted an invitation to run in the G1 Cox Plate.

Meanwhile, there has been favourable reaction at Godolphin to Scottish being weighted at 54.5kg (8st 8lb) for the G1 Caulfield Cup. Appleby said: "I am happy with that. He is an adaptable horse with a high cruising speed, who I think will be ideal for Caulfield."

Godolphin have been sending runners for the Cups from their base at Newmarket, England, since 1998, but this is the first time such a wide spread of Melbourne contenders have been assembled under the Royal Blue banner.

John Ferguson, Godolphin's chief executive and racing manager, said it is a commitment to one of the world's great racing carnivals -- but, above all, an attempt to win the feature races.


"His Highness Sheikh Mohammed would love to win the Melbourne Cup -- he has gone close to winning several times. But, he is also interested in targeting other races during the Melbourne Spring Carnival and we believe we have a team of suitable horses for those races," Ferguson said.


Appleby's chief Cups hope is Scottish, but the likes of Second Wave, Oceanographer, Qewy, and Francis Of Assisi, will be looking to venues such as Moonee Valley, Geelong and Bendigo as a means of qualifying for the Cup.


There are other feasible objectives during the Spring should they fall short.


"All of the five in my stable have completed their preparations over here and they are ready to go into quarantine on September 15," Appleby said. "They are all done," he added.


Saeed, on the other hand, intends to run his five -- Beautiful Romance, Elite Army, Important Message, Secret Number and Sky Hunter -- on British racecourses in coming weeks to determine whether they measure up.


"They'll run again in the UK before we decide," Saeed said. "I want to see which are good enough to go to Australia," he added.