Irish galloper Royal Diamond is being considered for a trip down under for the 2012 Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November after their eye-catching effort at York over the weekend.
The Thomas Carmody-trained country stayer, who also has experience as a hurdler, impressed connections and onlookers when finishing less than half a length away second to Saeed Bin Suroor’s Willing Foe in the Ebor Handicap (2816m).
Having held the lead inside the final furlong the King’s Best six-year-old did well to hang on for second behind a fast-finishing Willing Foe, the top two both now a chance for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) this Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Royal Diamond has won six of their 25 career starts to date, the most recent of which was a five length effort over 2816m in a handicap clash at Leopardstown in April, and connections couldn’t be happier with their progress.
“The Ebor has been the plan all the way through the year,” owner Andrew Tinkler’s racing manager Tim Jones said.
“We wanted to make sure he got a high enough rating to get into the race.
“We went there feeling he would run a good race and he did, so we’re thrilled with him.
“It was a great achievement by Tommy and all his team and the horse has done nothing wrong all year.
“It sounds strange to say a six-year-old is progressive, but he does seem to be getting better all the time.”
While the Melbourne Cup 2012 is certainly an enticing prize to chase as the world’s richest handicap and one that connections have been looking at for some time, Royal Diamond is also in the mix for the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2816m) at The Curragh in mid-September.
“He’s in the Irish St Leger and I think he will be given an entry in the Melbourne Cup as that race has been an option for him all year,” Jones said.
“That’s on the table if we decide to go that way, but we’ll see.
“Everyone will have a proper discussion about what we’re going to do with him.”
Melbourne Cup nominations will be taken next Tuesday, September 4.
Our preferred online sportsbook bookmaker.com.au already have their pre-nomination Melbourne Cup betting odds open however, prices led by the Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos at $15.
Royal Diamond is yet to be added to the markets.
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