Northerly Big Down Under

As North America looks toward the Oct. 26 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, fans of Australian racing are preparing for three of the country's biggest group I events--the Oct. 19 Caulfield Cup, the Oct. 26 Cox Plate, and the Nov. 5 Melbourne Cup.

Three of the four nomination stages for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups have passed. As of Oct. 8, 44 horses remain eligible for the 2400-meter Carlton Draught Caulfield Cup (1 1/2 miles), run at Caulfield in the state of Victoria.

Still eligible is Northerly (Serheed), winner last year of the Cox Plate and the winner this year of four group events, including the Oct. 5 Turnbull Stakes (Aust-II) at Flemington. Two horses trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Hatha Anna (Sadler's Wells) and Beekeeper (Rainbow Quest), are still eligible as well. The final entry date is Oct. 15 when $11,825 is due in order to run.

Only the second entry stage has passed for the 3200-meter (16 furlongs) Tooheys New Melbourne Cup and 78 horses are still eligible to run. Australia's biggest race has a carnival in its honor. It is regularly run on the first Tuesday in November at Flemington race course.

Irish trainer Dermot Weld has one of the current Cup favorites, Vinnie Roe, who won the Irish St. Leger Stakes (Ire-I) in his last outing. Seamus Sheridan owns the son of Definite Article. The Aga Khan's Daliapour (by Sadler's Wells) is also eligible. He won this year's IAWS Curragh Cup (Ire-III).

Northerly is also among the highweights for the Melbourne Cup, but he has the Caulfield to contend with first.