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Renowned businessman and racehorse owner John Singelton has instigated a Melbourne Spring Carnival boycott, announcing he would not run his glamour mare More Joyous in the Patinack Farm Classic if Singapore flyer Rocket Man travels down under for the $600,000 Racing Victoria incentive bonus.
Earlier this year Racing Victoria announced that there would be a $600,000 bonus associated with this year’s running of the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Melbourne’s iconic Flemington Racecourse in November.
The Emirates Stakes Day feature is part of the international Global Sprint Challenge series, and Racing Victoria are offering a bonus to any horse that has previously saluted in any overseas leg of the series and then becomes this year’s Patinack Farm Classic winner.
For an Australian sprinter to be eligible for the bonus, connections would have to send them overseas as Aussie-trained runners and previous Australian legs of the Global Sprint series do not qualify for the bonus.
In a backlash to the incentive, aimed to attract an international class of thoroughbreds to Australia for the Melbourne Spring Carnival, local connections are threatening not to run their horses in this year’s Patinack Farm Classic.
Singleton was the first to proclaim that his five-time Group 1 winning mare More Joyous would not be entered for the feature if the Patrick Bernard Shaw-trained Krisflyer International Sprint conqueror Rocket Man was part of the line-up.
It has become more likely than not that the connections of the talented Viscount gelding Rocket Man will vie for the lucrative bonus, the horse’s owner Fred Crabbia stating late last month that the Melbourne Carnival was on the agenda as long as suitable quarantine arrangements could be made.
“Fred Grabbia informed the (Victoria Racing) Club that, subject to suitable quarantine arrangements, Rocket Man would be targeting the 2011 Patinack Farm Classic,” VRC Chief executive Dale Monteith confirmed.
Prepared by Sydney’s leading lady of racing Gai Waterhouse, More Than Ready mare More Joyous has been spelling since pulling up lame with a joint injury after her disappointing 11th place finish behind Sacred Choice in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick in April.
Prior to the Doncaster flop, More Joyous recorded four successive wins including a Group 1 duo with victories in the Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield and the Queen of the Turf Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.
Despite being on the improve and looking ready to return to her earlier devastating form, $2.5 million earner More Joyous has been revealed as one of the trio of top-liner gallopers that won’t race against Rocket Man in the Patinack Farm Classic.
Singleton exposed an agreement he made with superlative sprinter Black Caviar’s trainer Peter Moody as well as Gosford-based horseman and coach to boom galloper Hay List, John McNair, that the trio wouldn’t race against Rocket Man during Melbourne Cup week.
“I spoke with Peter Moody and John McNair and we all agreed if Rocket Man comes here for the $600,000 bonus, then Black Caviar, Hay List and More Joyous won’t be there,” Singleton stated.
“We will not run our horses on principle.”
The shock move has boosted the Australian Turf Club’s prospect of securing the once-in-a-lifetime showdown between Black Caviar, Hay List and More Joyous in a rival race the Sydney association has been planning to run a Royal Randwick on the same day as Flemington’s Classic showdown.
While Singleton is yet to confirm the spring campaign of More Joyous, her programme pending on how she comes through her joint issues, he did say he would be open to running her in the Randwick clash.
“My vet Dr John Peatfield came up and had a look at More Joyous and he believes the joint problem is on the improve,” Singleton said with optimism.
“It looks like the mare will be right to go back into training in a few weeks.
“It won’t be the ideal preparation. She will only be able to have an abbreviated spring race program.”
If Singleton bypasses the Randwick showdown in November, he said that Waterhouse would likely aim More Joyous at the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m), the fillies and mares’ weight-for-age feature running at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, October 29.
“We are looking at two runs into the Myer Classic,” Singleton said.
“I’d say she will probably have to miss the Cox Plate, which is a shame.”
At last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival, More Joyous was a force to be reckoned with backing up from her Sydney elite level win in the 2010 George Main Stakes by taking out the Toorak Handicap over the mile at Caulfield in early October.
She then backed up running a brave fifth to dual champion So You Think in the $3 million Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
Meanwhile multiple Group 1 winner Hay List has also been battling his own health hardships, the Statue Of Liberty gelding having had his Winter Carnival campaign cut short due to a leg infection.
McNair said that Hay List was recovering well after a scary few weeks and that he would also be in favour of the Randwick face-off with Black Caviar and More Joyous.
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