Melbourne Cup 2023 among Eldar Eldarov’s options

Ever since Vintage Crop internationalised the Melbourne Cup in 1993, the Irish St Leger, which will be run at The Curragh this weekend, has had a key impact on Australia’s most famous race.

Vintage Crop is the only horse to have won both races, but Oscar Schindler, Vinnie Roe, Yeats and Septimus were all highly fancied in the Melbourne Cup after winning the St Leger and Twilight Payment ran third the year he won at Flemington.

Several who will be among Melbourne Cup entries when they close on Tuesday have been entered for the 2816m race, which will be run on Sunday night Australian time, including the Roger Varian-trained Eldar Eldarov.

The son of Dubawi was one of the high-profile nominations last year but did not make the trip, but Varian said it is among his options for 2023.

Varian wants to see how he performs at The Curragh first.

“He will have an entry when the race closes but he’s got a big race in Ireland beforehand, so we’ll see how we go there then regroup,” Varian said.

Eldar Eldarov was entered for last year’s Melbourne Cup and received 55kg as a Northern Hemisphere three-year-old, who had won the Group 1 English St Leger (2922m), but can expect to be towards the head of the weights this year.

His three starts this year have produced a second in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup (2816m), seventh in the Group 1 Gold Cup (4014m) at Royal Ascot and a fourth in the Goodwood Cup (3218m) on August 1, taking his career record to four wins from nine starts.

Varian, who has travelled horses to Australia previously, understands the veterinary protocols now required to campaign a horse in Melbourne and has no concerns with Eldar Eldarov passing them.

“He’s a very clean, sound horse. You never quite know until you put cameras on horses, but he’s a good horse (and) very straight forward,” Varian said.

“We wouldn’t take him if we didn’t think he could run well.”

The closure of Melbourne Cup nominations completes the long-range entries for the three majors of the Melbourne spring after Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate entries were taken in early August.

Weights for this year’s Melbourne Cup will be announced on Tuesday, September 19.

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