A flight containing the high-quality international contingent of stayers heading to Australia for the spring is expected to land in Melbourne on Friday night.
Racing Victoria’s international manager Paul Bloodworth said there had not been any last-minute withdrawals and the 29 horses would arrive at approximately 9.45pm (AEST) on Friday.
The planeload comprises 16 horses who will return to Europe and another 13 horses who will stay in Australia.
The contingent is headed by Aidan O’Brien’s powerful trio of last year’s English Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and his northern hemisphere-bred three-year-olds Santiago and Tiger Moth.
Two local trainers who are eagerly awaiting the flight’s arrival are Tom Dabernig, who will take over the training of Port Guillame, and Matt Cumani with San Huberto.
Dabernig said Port Guillame had done well during quarantine at Newmarket and had been under the care of Jane Chapple-Hyam.
“It will be interesting to see how he settles in. He still has a nomination for the Caulfield Cup but I’ll see how he is progressing,” Dabernig said.
“He had a tough run at his last start at Longchamp where he was on the speed and left in front a long way out.
“That was three weeks ago so he’s had a bit of time to recover.”
Cumani said San Huberto had been with Ed Peate at Newmarket and had been progressing well.
“Ed said he had put on 20 kilos since he had been there but he had also travelled from France,” Cumani said.
“I can’t wait to see him over the weekend. It’s a dream having a runner in the Melbourne Cup.”