Leading Australian trainer Darren Weir believes he has three or four realistic chances to repel the overseas invasion as he dreams of another Melbourne Cup and his first Caulfield Cup.
Weir has nominated 17 horses for the Melbourne Cup and 20 for the Caulfield Cup, including Japanese stayer Admire Deus.
The multiple Group Two winner in Japan, purchased earlier this month by syndicators Australian Bloodstock, will target the spring’s two big staying handicaps on October 21 and November 7.
“That’s the plan at this stage,” Weir said on Tuesday.
He said Australian Bloodstock’s Luke Morrell and Jamie Lovett were keen to target both races.
“They were very keen to get this horse over here for the Melbourne Cup,” he said.
Weir says a lot of his entries will need to step up before the feature races if he is to repeat his dream Melbourne Cup win in 2015 with 100-1 shot Prince of Penzance or win his first Caulfield Cup.
“I guess I’m like a lot of owners – I dream a bit,” he said.
“Dreams come true every now and then. That’s why we’ve entered a fair few.
“Obviously there’s only three or four realistically good chances that may get there provided everything goes well.”
“He would be the pick of my group,” he said.
“We planned on giving him a good break and aiming towards the spring and aiming towards the Caulfield Cup, so he’d be the pick of mine.”
A total of 140 horses have been entered for the Melbourne Cup, up from 124, while nominations for the Caulfield Cup have fallen from 170 to 142 after the closing date moved to the end of August.
Horses trained in Japan, France, Germany, England, Ireland and, for the first time, Scotland, have been entered for the Cups, as well as from New Zealand.
A total of 33 northern hemisphere-trained horses from 20 stables have been nominated across the two feature races.