A trio of northern hemisphere raiders is planning to swoop in and spoil the party for the locals in the inaugural $7.5 million Golden Eagle at Rosehill.
In the tranquil surrounds of Canterbury quarantine centre, Never No More, I Am Superman and Beat Le Bon are quietly going about their business ahead of Sydney’s newest showpiece race.
Never No More stretched his legs on Wednesday in a training gallop alongside stablemate Antilles, who will run in the $500,000 Rosehill Gold Cup on Saturday.
With Irish training genius Aidan O’Brien in the United States for the Breeders’ Cup, his four-year-old star is thriving on the other side of the world in Sydney since arriving almost two weeks ago.
“Horses can’t but not settle in well here. He’s adapted well,” O’Brien’s travelling foreman Andrew Murphy said.
After five starts at home in Ireland, Never No More headed for the US and was a luckless fifth in his Group One debut in the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park in August.
He fared better on his return to British soil, finishing second in the Group Two Park Stakes at Doncaster in September.
“They were runs that he probably needed,” Murphy said.
But it was his eye-catching 2000m Guineas trial at Leopardstown, where he defeated English Derby runner-up Madhmoon, that franks his form.
And with champion French jockey Charles-Pierre Boudot booked to ride, Murphy likes their chances of causing an upset.
“We think we have him spot on now,” he said.
Murphy expects Boudot will settle him near the speed to make the most of drawing barrier seven.
“He’ll go forward because there’s no point in losing (ground),” he said.
“You get a good gate, you have to use it.”
Punters consider Never No More ($26) the best of the foreigners, while Michael O’Callahan’s I Am Superman ($71) and Richard Hannon’s Beat Le Bon ($81) are both rank outsiders.
Yet English rival Beat Le Bon has a marginally superior rating (104) as the winner of the Golden Mile at Goodwood two starts back with regular jockey Pat Dobbs, who retains his mount.
“We hope he’s a horse that’s still improving,” travelling head Wayne Kavanagh said.
“That’s why we thought it was worth a shot bringing him over here.”
But I Am Superman shouldn’t be underestimated, according to his travelling foreman John Bailey, after matching it with his Irish contemporaries and running a creditable third behind Madhmoon in the Group Three Desmond Stakes.
“If he runs up to his form at home, he should run very well,” Bailey said.
“We’re hoping for a big run. His form with (Aidan) O’Brien’s horses is very similar.”
I Am Superman and Beat Le Bon, who have drawn together in gate 14 and 15 respectively, also carried out trackwork on Wednesday ahead of final tune-up gallops on Thursday.