Prominent thoroughbred owner John Singleton is shooting for the stars, and beyond, this spring with his champion mare More Joyous who he plans to target for the rare 2012 Cox Plate – Melbourne Cup double.
A winner of 19 of her 26 career starts to date for over $4.2 million in prize money More Than Ready five-year-old More Joyous will be given her chance to make history this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained runner was undefeated in the autumn winning all four of her starts including a Group 1 triple thanks to victories in the Queen of the Turf Stakes, Doncaster Mile and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
It was a huge improvement on her disappointing spring campaign last year that culminated with a distant seventh to Hurtle Myrtle in the Myer Classic.
This year Singleton hopes for a more successful spring with More Joyous to be given a second shot at the iconic $3 million Group 1 WS Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in October.
She ran in the 2010 Cox Plate but could only manage to finish fifth behind dual champion So You Think.
In a controversial announcement Singleton also named the world’s richest handicap, the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November as another spring aim for the star.
Singleton knows the Melbourne Cup dream for the middle distance champ is a pipe one at best but said that dreaming is what it is all about in racing.
“We will nominate for the Melbourne Cup on the basis you need to keep dreaming in this business,” Singleton said.
“Say she were to run in the Cox Plate and win it easily, then you would have to consider the Melbourne Cup.
“Who is to say she won’t run 3200m?”
Aside from the Cox Plate two years ago More Joyous’ only other run over further than a mile was her Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory, where her competition included Australian Cup – Ranvet Stakes – The BMW triple winner Manighar, Epsom Handicap victor Secret Admirer, and Rangirangdoo.
“Everyone thought More Joyous wouldn’t go 2000-metres before the Queen Elizabeth Stakes but she did it on her ear,” Singleton said.
“Sometimes we don’t give these horses to chance to show if they can stay.
“I can’t see any reason why Black Caviar wouldn’t run 1600-metres or even 2000-metres but Peter Moody seems happy to keep winning all the sprint races.
“Before the race they all said the Queen Elizabeth was a better field than any Cox Plate in the last 10 years and she (More Joyous) toyed with them.
“So, if she was to win the Cox Plate, and we all know a lot can go wrong between now and that race, then maybe we will look at the Melbourne Cup.
“Look, it is probably 1000/1 but you would hate not to at least give yourself the option to think about it.”
While her distance record leaves a bit to be desired when considering a two mile handicap, Singleton said that More Joyous’ breeding was more assuring as her dam Sunday Joy won the 2003 AJC Oaks over 2400-metres.
Throughout the past century and a half only six horses have managed the unique Cox Plate – Melbourne cup winning double in the same year with Nightmarch (1929), Phar Lap (1930), Rising Fast (1954), Saintly (1996) and Makybe Diva (2005).
There was also Might And Power who won the Melbourne Cup (1997) and Cox Plate (1998) a season apart.
Futures 2012 Melbourne Cup betting at bookmaker.com.au is currently led by 2010 winner Americain at $17 and Peter Moody’s ace import Manighar at $18.
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