Pat Carey is one Australian trainer who isn’t going to be flustered by the international contingent arriving for this year’s spring carnival.
Carey, who has Group One-winning stayer Ethiopia ready to resume in the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on Saturday, says a lot can go wrong in a Cups campaign launched from the northern hemisphere.
“Anyone who doesn’t have to travel is in a better position than someone who does,” Carey said.
“It’s a bit of an unknown for some of them who haven’t travelled here before.”
There are no overseas-trained horses in the Makybe Diva but it’s not hard to find an international flavour in the Group One race.
Ethiopia will take his place in the 1600m weight-for-age race alongside the Melbourne Cup favourite, the former French galloper Puissance De Lune.
Also there will be Jet Away, the David Hayes-trained import who is co-favourite for the Caulfield Cup.
And there will be much interest in the Australian debut of Sea Moon.
Owned by Lloyd Williams, Sea Moon is one of the highest-rated thoroughbreds to be imported to Australia.
Former German galloper Waldpark steps out for Anthony Freedman while Bit Of Hell, a Listed winner in Italy, will have his second start for Mick Price.
Carey says he is happy with the condition of Ethiopia, who suffered a tendon injury in last year’s Melbourne Cup.
At his only run since, Ethiopia didn’t handle a rain-affected track when down the course in the Doncaster Mile.
“We’re nominated for all the big races and his early form will dictate the path we take,” Carey said.
“He’s very well placed in the handicaps and he’s qualified (for the Cups).”
“Ethiopia is in good condition and we’re really keen to kick off his campaign.”
Ethiopia’s regular jockey Rhys McLeod will be in the saddle for the Makybe Diva.
There are 19 entries in the Makybe Diva with two-thirds of the nomination starting their racing careers in Europe.