The Victorian Spring Carnival kicks off at the start of next month, and this year’s nominations have been nothing short of spectacular. We will see the running of races such as the Group 1 Caulfield Cup, Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate, and the Group 1 Lexus Melbourne Cup. This carnival is set to see many International horses including Irish stars Paddington (Aiden O’Brien) and Vauban (Willie Mullins).

Top Trainers Send Their Best

Elite trainers Willie Mullins and Aiden O’Brien will send their best chances for the big races this Spring. Both trainers are accustomed to Australian racing and have supported these carnivals with many runners over the years. Aiden has raced horses such as So You Think who won two Cox Plates. Willie trained high-class mare True Self to win two Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington, only to be balloted out twice of the Melbourne Cup. He has also had star horses Wicklow Brave and Max Dynamite compete in previous years. We will look at two of their runners for this year and where they will be heading.


Aiden O’Brien


Paddington is a 3yo colt by French stallion Siyouni (FR) out of the mare Modern Eagle (GER). He was purchased for €420,000 from the 2021 Arqana October Yearling Sale. He is trained out of Ballydoyle Stables in County Tipperary, Ireland. The colt remained unbeaten for 7 of his 8 starts only being out of the placings during his first season as a two-year-old. Some of his most notable wins are the Irish 2,000 Guineas, St James Palace Stakes, and the Coral-Eclipse Stakes. Most recently, he won the Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood with Ryan Moore aboard. These wins give him a rating of 125, higher than one of his possible competitors Romantic Warrior who sits at 123.

Cox Plate Bound

A total of 178 horses were nominated with 17 of those being international stars. At the top of the list is Paddington who is currently the second favourite behind Romantic Warrior (HK). Paddington has been confirmed for the Cox Plate with his lead-up race already selected. He will contest the Group 1 Juddmonte Stakes in York on the 24th of August. Earlier in the month, it was announced this race would give the winner automatic entry to the Cox Plate, all expenses paid. Paddington is currently the favourite for the race and going off his recent form he should be able to gain that golden ticket.

Willie Mullins


Another likely Spring Carnival contender is Vauban. He is a 5yo gelding by Galiway (GB) out of Waldfest (GB). The gelding is trained out of the Willie Mullins yard situated in Closutton, Ireland. His strike rate is impressive with 14 starts, 7 of those were wins and 4 placings. The gelding has won his last two, most recently winning the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes in Naas. While he hasn’t had many group wins on the flat, he has had plenty of success over the hurdles winning multiple Group 1’s over 3000m+. His win in the Ballyroan Stakes was the decider on whether or not he would gain entry into the Melbourne Cup.

Mullins Persistent For A Cup

Willie Mullins has said he will likely be heading to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup. Mullins isn’t a stranger to racing horses in the Melbourne Cup. Vauban is owned by the Ricci family who also owned galloper Max Dynamite. Max Dynamite also trained by Mullins, placed twice in the 2015 and 2017 Cups. He also raced Wicklow Brave who was unlucky not to place in his stints during the 2016 and 2017 races. It has recently come out that Vauban won’t be returning to the races before heading to Australia. He will continue to prepare at home before heading down under. Willie stated on Nick Luck’s podcast that he was caught off guard by his recent win and he is confident the horse can run over the 3200m distance.

Jockey Ryan Moore has shown interest in riding the gelding should he get a start. Vauban is currently favourite for the Melbourne Cup (pre-nomination) sitting at $8.


The 2023 Spring Carnival is looking to be an exciting one with many returning horses. We are excited to see how these International raiders perform in their respective races. We will be keeping up to date on their progress and can’t wait to share it with our audience.