Hong Kong International Bowl winner Catalan Opening is expected to notch a record ninth victory for trainer Bart Cummings in the A$500,000 Newmarket Handicap (1,200 metres) at Flemington today. It will be Catalan Opening's first racecourse appearance since his last-to-first victory in the International Bowl at Sha Tin in December. But Cummings said the five-year-old had 'blossomed' since his visit to Hong Kong. 'The horse has absolutely thrived since coming back from Hong Kong,' Cummings said. 'He's never been better and his work over the past two weeks has been brilliant. He is definitely the one to beat in the race.' Cummings is also 'very happy' with Catalan Opening's number two starting gate, which means he will come down the grandstand side of the course where the going is better. With Darren Beadman, who had the winning mount at Sha Tin now in retirement, the aging Mick Dittman has been engaged for Catalan Opening. Dittman won the Newmarket for Cummings on Elounda Bay back in 1981 and his aggressive style will suit the gelding. However, despite the stable's confidence in Catalan Opening pre-post betting has the classy three-year-old General Nediym as ruling favourite. After winning the Lightning Stakes (1,000 metres) at Flemington on February 8, General Nediym failed in the Oakleigh Plate (1,100 metres) at Caulfield two weeks ago. Although excuses have since been made for the flop, he must now be taken on trust, which means he is not a particularly attractive betting proposition. On that basis Oakleigh Plate winner Singing The Blues, Darren Gauci's mount Flavour and Rock You, to be ridden by Damien Oliver, could prove the hardest for Catalan Opening to beat. Cummings, who made quite an impression while in Hong Kong for the International Races, also believes his representative Dane Ripper can win the A$1.25 million Australian Cup (2,000 metres) at Flemington on Monday, although the 1997 Caulfield and Melbourne Cups hero Might And Power is a 7-4 favourite. Cummings, who has already won the race 11 times, considers Dane Ripper - a 4/1 second favourite - to have the better credentials. 'Some people have been saying there were excuses for Might And Power, when Dane Ripper beat him in the St George Stakes last week,' Cummings said. 'He's too good a horse to start knocking him but I'm not the least bit afraid of taking him on again with Dane Ripper in the Australian Cup. 'If you go back through the records you will always find the good weight-for-age horse will beat the good handicapper, and that's what happened at Caulfield. 'After that I won't be surprised at all if Dane Ripper has the better of Might And Power whenever they clash this autumn.' Darren Beadman, who late last year retired as a jockey to become a minister of religion, is to embark on yet another career move. Beadman, who departed Hong Kong under a cloud late in 1993, is to become a television commentator. He has been contracted to appear on the Nine Network's Racing Show, which will premiere next Saturday. Beadman will be the show's Sydney trackman. He will conduct interviews with trainers and jockeys at the track during the week as well as reporting, on Saturday mornings, on the runners he feels have been the best trackworkers. Indications are that Salieri three-year-old Schubert will arrive in Hong Kong from Melbourne next month. Schubert, who is to enter the stables of leading trainer David Hayes, is spelling after being gelded following his disappointing effort in the AAMI Classic (1,800 metres) at Caulfield two weeks ago. 'There is no doubt he has plenty of ability but he had become coltish,' says Gary Fennessy, who is the stable foreman for Schubert's Australian trainer Peter Hayes. 'So he was gelded and now he is having a break before being flown over to Hong Kong.'