Saturday week’s $3 million Caulfield Cup is down to just 30 hopefuls and the following Saturday’s $3m Cox Plate has only 29 contenders remaining after third acceptances for the races were taken on Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile with four weeks to go until Australia’s greatest race, the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup, just 52 horses remain in contention after first acceptances were taken. At the corresponding stage last year, 82 horses remained in the hunt for the prize.
In the Caulfield Cup, the numbers fell from 58 at last month’s first declaration stage to just 30 after third declarations – a drop of eight from last year.
In the Cox Plate, its numbers were reduced from 53 to 29 after third acceptances but importantly the main headliners – Winx, Black Heart Bart, Vadamos and even the former Japanese galloper Tosen Stardom – remain in the hunt for Australasia’s weight-for-age championship.
Notably, despite the presence of the superstar Winx, five three-year-olds remain in the race and all are racing this weekend in their respective Guineas races at Caulfield.
Thousand Guineas contenders Yankee Rose and Missrock are paid up for in the Cox Plate, along with Caulfield Guineas contenders Swear, Seaburge and Sacred Elixir.