Racing: Mating quite ethereal in Cup week

Mongolian Khan, with Opie Bosson on board, wins last year's edition of the Caulfield Cup. Photo / Getty Images
Mongolian Khan, with Opie Bosson on board, wins last year's edition of the Caulfield Cup. Photo / Getty Images

This was a mating made for Caulfield Cup week.

New Zealand's two most recent Caulfield Cup winners - Mongolian Khan and Ethereal - met in the serving barn at Windsor Park Stud, at Cambridge, last weekend.

Ethereal, winner of the 2001 Caulfield Cup, has been among the first book of mares served by the 2015 Cup winner Mongolian Khan.

"I don't know if two Caulfield Cup winners have been mated before," Windsor Park general manager Steve Till said. "I would have thought it was highly unlikely.

"It certainly hasn't happened at our place before and it's very exciting for us. Physically it's a mating that should suit Ethereal. She's not overly big while Mongolian Khan stands at 16.2 [hands] and has a lot of quality and strength."

Ethereal, who is owned by Sir Peter Vela's Pencarrow Stud, was the last horse to win both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups in the same year.

She is the dam of five individual winners, including the New Zealand Derby placegetter Uberalles and the group-placed Duquesa.

Imperium, another of her foals, has been nominated for the Ashburton meeting on Saturday, which will be the 15th anniversary of Ethereal's Caulfield Cup win.

The Caulfield programme on Saturday includes the Group III New Zealand Bloodstock Ethereal Stakes (2000m) for three-year-old fillies. The race will be a key leadup to the Victoria Oaks and the contenders will include the Cambridge filly Eleonora, who is a granddaughter of Ethereal.

Mongolian Khan, the 2015 and 2016 New Zealand Horse of the Year, is standing at a $10,000 service fee and is expected to serve a book of around 150 mares this year.

"He's doing really well in the serving ring and is very fertile," Till said. Hopes of a second successive Caulfield Cup win for NZ-trained horses will rest with the Te Awamutu mare Fanatic. She has 50.5kg and will be ridden by Victorian lightweight Dean Yendall.

Yendall, 42, is also a form rider after recording his first group one win when Yankee Rose won the Spring Champion Stakes in Sydney last weekend. Yendall, who has had more than 2000 wins, does most of his riding on the country circuit and won 162 races last season.

Apprentice Mick Dee, who began his career in New Zealand, will have his first Caulfield Cup mount when he partners the 2014 Victoria Oaks winner Set Square.

Dee, 20, rode more city winners than the likes of Glen Boss, Craig Newitt and Nicholas Hall.

Avondale Cup winner Sacred Master also made the Cup field. The gelding, part-owned by Bruce Sherwin, was transferred to Sydney trainer Chris Waller after finishing third in the Auckland Cup in March.

Four European horses - Exospheric, Scottish, Sir Isaac Newton and Articus - are in the Cup field and all four are prominent in the betting markets. Jameka was a $3.30 favourite ahead of last night's barrier draw.

A$3m Caulfield Cup
Last night's barrier draw

1 Preferment (15) H Bowman 57kg
2 Our Ivanhowe (6) D Dunn 56.5kg
3 Exospheric (3)D Oliver 55.5kg
4 Scottish (7) K McEvoy 55kg
5 Sir Isaac Newton (9) C O'Donoghue 55kg
6 Tarzino (4) C Newitt 54.5kg
7 Almoonqith (2) M Walker 54kg
8 Sir John Hawkwood (5) B Spriggs 53.5kg
9 Articus (11) Z Purton 53kg
10 Tally (19)B Avdulla 53kg
11 Jameka (13)N Hall 52.5kg
12 Real Love (10) C Williams 52.5kg
13 Set Square (20) M Dee (a) 52kg
14 Big Memory (12) C Parnham 51.5kg
15 Sacred Master (8) T Berry 51.5kg
16 Fanatic (16) D Yendall 50.5kg
17 Pemberley (17) B Allen (a) 50.5kg
18 Go Dreaming (1) K Mallyon 50.5kg
19e De Little Engine (14)B E Thompson (a) 50.5kg
20e Vengeur Masque (18) P Moloney 50.5kg

- NZ Racing Desk

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