Last Saturday marked the end of another outstanding Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington Racecourse. This week’s edition of the Follow Files will zero in on three runners that are worth following into the autumn after reaching career peaks during the four-day carnival in Melbourne.
Top horses to follow from Melbourne Cup Carnival 2023
Horse to follow: Imperatriz
- Highlight: Group 1 VRC Champions Sprint (1st)
The clear standout horse across the Melbourne Spring Carnival must be Imperatriz, who came across the ditch and claimed all three of our Group 1 sprint features, culminating with the Group 1 VRC Champions Sprint. The Mark Walker-trained mare destroyed her rivals in the Moir Stakes and Manikato Stakes to become the third horse in history to complete the double. The toughest test of her preparation came last Saturday down the Flemington straight in the Champions Sprint, and even though she wasn’t as dominant as her previous two victories, the daughter of I Am Invincible was too good and recorded her third straight Group 1.
Next potential target: After dominating the New Zealand and Australian sprinting ranks, the likes of Hong Kong or Ascot could be on the cards for her next preparation. However, if we do see her in Australia during the autumn, it could be to take on the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap.
Horse to follow: Pride Of Jenni
- Highlight: Group 1 VRC Champions Mile (1st)
The feel-good story of the Melbourne Cup Carnival had to be Pride Of Jenni, who created history by becoming the first horse to win the Empire Rose Stakes and VRC Champions Mile in the same week. Trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace claimed that the decision to run in the Champions Mile was a throw at the stumps, but the gamble well and truly paid off, as Declan Bates completed the double aboard the mare with similar front-running tactics. After running second to Amelia’s Jewel in the Group 2 Stocks Stakes (where Amelia’s Jewel broke a track record) and finishing a credible sixth place in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap, the daughter of Pride Of Dubai concluded a career-best preparation in fine style.
Next potential target: Maher confirmed that the All-Star Mile would be next on the cards in the autumn before a possible trip to Ascot, where she would seek a start in The Queen Anne Stakes over 1600m.
Horse to follow: Muramasa
- Highlight: Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (1st)
The lightly raced Muramasa from the Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young stable reached a new career peak when taking out the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, qualifying for the 2024 Melbourne Cup in the process. After returning with a very nice win at Flemington early in the spring, the son of Deep Impact went on to win the Group 3 Coongy Cup at Caulfield before completing the hat-trick of wins on Champions Day with the Queen Elizabeth victory. Connections are hoping they can keep this four-year-old gelding healthy and set him on a Melbourne Cup path — much like Soulcombe, who carried the same colours to finish second in this year’s running.
Next potential target: The stable has said that Muramasa could run in the Zipping Classic on December 2 to end his spring campaign. During the autumn, we expect him to follow a similar path as Soulcombe and run in the Roy Higgins to ensure his spot in the Melbourne Cup in 2024.