Hunter syndicators Australian Bloodstock believe new acquisition Mustajeer is their best Caulfield Cup chance and among their top three Melbourne Cup hopes.
Australian Bloodstock announced on Tuesday the purchase of Irish stayer Mustajeer, which will join the stables of Newcastle trainer Kris Lees after contesting the $AU1.78 million Ebor Handicap (2787 metres) at York on August 25.
The six-year-old gelding will join an already long list of potential Melbourne Cup runners for the owners of 2014 winner Protectionist.
"I think he's my best Caulfield Cup hope, and he'd be in the top three from a Melbourne Cup point of view," Australian Bloodstock director Luke Murrell said. "It's a bonus that we get to run in the Ebor. The owners get a crack there and a couple in the better races here."
Sydney Cup winner Shraaoh and Torcedor headline the company's Melbourne Cup hopes in the TAB market at $26. Murrell rated Mustajeer ($51) ahead of the Chris Waller-trained Shraaoh.
"If Torcedor shows up, none of them will get near him," he said. "He's by far the best, but he's an older horse and he's only just started his campaign, so his worry is, is he going to be fit enough?"
Danceteria and the Lees-trained Aliferous, Attention Run, Sixties Groove, Red Cardinal and Saunter Boy were others in the market but Murrell said exciting import Mugatoo would not be coming for the spring after suffering a setback.
He will instead come to Australia for an autumn campaign.
Murrell believed imports had a distinct advantage over Australian-trained Melbourne Cup hopes.
"The programming makes it very hard for an Australian-trained horse to get there," he said.
"So the overseas ones are always going to have an advantage, because they are up and running now, whereas a lot of the Melbourne Cup horses here haven't even raced yet this prep.
"It's too hard, too condensed and it doesn't suit."