Racing Victoria courts Sir Michael Stoute for spring cups bid

A meeting later this week in England between Racing Victoria and revered trainer Sir Michael Stoute could entice the Queen's horseman to return for the Caulfield and Melbourne cups after an absence of almost 10 years.

Sir Michael has not been to Australia since 2005 but RVL recruiter Leigh Jordon will target the trainer in a bid to have one or more of his stayers in Melbourne this spring.

Jordon flew out of Melbourne on Monday keen to see how Thursday's rich group 2 Princess of Wales' Stakes (2400 metres) would unfold as many Melbourne Cup hopefuls are engaged.

Jordon is keen to snare Sir Michael's Arab Spring, owned by Ballymacoll Stud, which also produced and sold last year's Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente.

Arab Spring is by Monsun and a half-brother to Glass Harmonium.

"He's a very exciting horse and I know there's been a lot of financial bidding from Australians trying to lure the horse to Australia," Jordon said. "He's lightly raced, he's got a lovely pedigree and he's certainly one I want to see in Australia.

"He's one of the Stoute stable that I'm really interested in getting and the other of course is Hillstar, who's a high-class horse who would be ideally suited in Australia and he'd be one high on my list of priorities,'' Jordon said.

He says the Princes of Wales' will be a valuable insight into cup chances and from the 12 entries, a least six are spring carnival probables.

"We've got Dandino, Gatewood and Seismo who I hope can make the trip," he said. "There's another horse I'm quite excited about ... lightly raced four-year-old stayer Pether's Moon, who really fits the criteria of being the ideal Caulfield and Melbourne cup horse. He's trained by Richard Hannon, who is a great seasoner of horses and I'd love to see him in Melbourne this spring,'' he said.

Jordon said this year's $6 million Melbourne Cup was still tough to gain a start in because it was a handicap.

"Last year horses with 54 kilos just scraped in, so I make it a hard-and-fast rule to explain to all international hopefuls that the days of gaining a start with weights like 51 and 52 are gone.

"So it means simply that you've got to have the form profile of a group 2 horse in Europe to gain enough weight to get into the Melbourne Cup, and for that matter the Caulfield Cup.

"The Caulfield and Melbourne cup package is a very sellable idea. The Melbourne Racing Club have established ballot-exempt races across Europe and as well are paying $75,000 down to 10th position.

"So, if you came to Australia with a horse in that weight band of 54 and you ran in the Caulfield Cup that pays $75,000 down to 10th and then the Melbourne Cup that pays a $125,000 fee down to 10th, that means your expenses, overheads [could be] covered even if you don't win or place.

"And now that the Caulfield Cup had gone from $2.5 million to $3 million, the interest in one of Australia's most important handicaps has also increased.

"It's interesting, I'm getting more and more questions about other races right across the board and I think that's generated by Side Glance winning the Mackinnon Stakes last spring. I think people with cup hopefuls have thought to themselves that the base prizemoney for so many other group races in Melbourne at the time [has] made a trip Down Under for stablemates tempting,'' Jordon said.

This story Racing Victoria courts Sir Michael Stoute for spring cups bid first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.