BMW Caulfield Cup co-favourite Winx was the most notable omission for the $3 million handicap when first acceptances were taken on Tuesday afternoon.
The Chris Waller-trained mare, who won the Queensland Oaks in May, was one of a quartet of high-profile horses who will not line up for the for the world’s richest 2400m handicap on October 17.
There will need to be a reshuffle of CrownBet’s markets with Pornichet, Criterion and Kermadec all missing from first acceptances, although the four remain in contention for the William Hill Cox Plate.
There were a total of 114 first acceptors for the Caulfield Cup, compared to the average of 113 first acceptors across the past four years.
Emirates Melbourne Cup winner and equal topweight Protectionist, New Zealand star Mongolian Khan, Godolphin pair Contributer and Hartnell and 2014 Caulfield Cup placegetters Rising Romanceand Lucia Valentina are among the standout first acceptors.
Current Caulfield Cup co-favourite Fame Game and fellow Japanese galloper Hokko Brave remain in contention, along with Ascot Gold Cup winner Trip To Paris, Hardwicke Stakes winner Snow Sky, Lonsdale Cup winner Max Dynamite and Northumberland Plate winner Quest For Peace.
A total of six international horses remain in contention for both the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate, with Racing Victoria (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, delighted at the quality of the first acceptances.
“Today provides a much clearer picture on what the international contingent will look like for the BMW Caulfield Cup and William Hill Cox Plate and we’re really pleased with the quality that remains among the international first acceptors,” Carpenter said.
“Three of the Cox Plate international invitees in Arod, Gailo Chop and Highland Reel feature among the first acceptors for the weight-for-age championship, which is a positive sign towards their participation in the race.
“After the breakthrough win of Adelaide last year we are expecting the international entries to again be key players in this year’s Cox Plate.”
There were a total of 92 first acceptors for the Cox Plate, which is also one up on the average across the past four years.
Premier Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has paid up for three horses – invitee Highland Reel, Cougar Mountain and Ol’ Man River – as he readies his stable for a tilt at back-to-back victories.
A total of 13 three-year-olds have been paid up for including the fillies Jameka and Payroll.
Other notable withdrawals were Boban, Our Ivanhowe, Spillway, Stipulate and First Seal.
Highly favoured contenders Press Statement, Ready For Victory, Exosphere, Keen Array and Rageese headline the 100 first acceptors for the $1 million Group 1 Beck Caulfield Guineas on October 10.
It’s the second time since 2008 that first acceptances have reached 100, with the average across the past four years being 90.
Golden Slipper winner Vancouver and Blue Diamond Stakes-winning colt Pride Of Dubai headline the notable withdrawals.
Unbeaten fillies Alaskan Rose (Mike Moroney) and Petits Filous (Ciaron Maher) are among the 108 first acceptors for the $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas on October 10.
The Victorian-trained pair are joined by Group 1-winner Pasadena Girl and Gai Waterhouse’sdominant Furious Stakes winner Speak Fondly among the high profile contenders.
Stay With Me, the regally-bred daughter of former champion galloper Miss Finland, is one of 11 fillies nominated by co-trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig and will look to emulate her famous mother in winning Caulfield’s premier 1600-metre event for fillies.
The notable withdrawals include Waterhouse’s Golden Slipper runner-up English and VOBIS Gold Ingot winner Fleur Fatale.
First acceptances for the Thousand Guineas are well up on the 80 averaged across the past four years.
His Highness The Aga Khan on Tuesday paid the Emirates Melbourne Cup late entry fee for his lightly-raced French stayer Loresho.
The Jean-Claude Rouget-trained northern hemisphere four-year-old has won five of his 11 starts and was placed at his most recent start in the Group 2 Prix de Deauville (2500m) on 30 August.
Loresho is one of four horses for which connections on Tuesday paid the $5500 late entry fee with the other three being imported stayers Chance To Dance (Robert Hickmott) and Archie Alexanderpair Renew and Ruscello.
Weights for the Melbourne Cup will be released on 15 September, with first acceptances taken on 6 October.