Aidan O’Brien has set his sights on winning the Ladbrokes Cox Plate for a second time, with Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck and Royal Ascot victor Circus Maximus among his 11 initial entries for the Australian feature.
O’Brien sent Adelaide to win the 2014 renewal, with the Moonee Valley Group One subsequently dominated by Chris Waller’s superstar Winx, a record four-times winner before her retirement earlier this year.
No stranger to competing in Australia, O’Brien has the likes of Japan, Hermosa and Fleeting also in the mix.
“To win a Cox Plate, you need a horse with plenty of tactical speed that gets a mile and a quarter well,” said O’Brien.
“We have entered 11 horses that we think might suit the race, but of course some of them don’t always progress as well as we were hoping.
“But Anthony Van Dyck and Circus Maximus are two very hardy colts with good tactical speed, and both should handle nice ground.
“It’s probably too early at this stage to say who our number one seed is, we usually nominate a number of horses and then we will see how they progress from now.”
A total of 27 overseas entries include David Menuisier’s German Group One victor Danceteria, Andrew Balding’s John Smith’s Cup hero Pivoine and the Mark Johnston-trained Communique, a dual Group Two scorer.
Joseph O’Brien, who already has a Melbourne Cup triumph on his CV, has Irish Derby winner Latrobe, Master Of Reality, Buckhurst and Iridessa entered.