An eye-catching performance at Royal Ascot this week has seen Newmarket-based trainer David Simcock keep the Cox Plate 2013 in Melbourne this October firmly in his sights for his smart stallion Trade Storm.
The son of Trade Fair was far from disgraced when fifth in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes (1600m), a race hot favourite Animal Kingdom finished a disappointing 11th in, on the opening day of the coveted Royal Ascot Carnival on Tuesday.
That run behind the Aidan O’Brien-trained Declaration Of War saw Simcock bring up talks of a trip down under for the $3 million Group 1 Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26 during the coveted Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
“I was very pleased with him,” Simcock said post-race.
“He’s a very hard horse to get fit. He’s a big horse who always comes on with racing, as we saw in Dubai this year.
“He travelled well before getting tired this time but I think he ran the fastest furlong in either of the two Group 1 races on the opening day.”
Recent winner of the Group 2 Zabeel Mile (1600m) in Dubai where they showed their class running down Group 1 champion Musir, the (European) five-year-old was last seen finishing a gallant fourth behind Sajjhaa in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free (1800m) on March 30.
They improved on that run when back home following their campaign at Meydan and could now be bound for Australasia’s weight-for-age championship having been one of the 20 international invitees sent a formal offer to attend by the Moonee Valley Racing Club last week.
It had been a great success story for breeder Graham Lucas who had to buy Trade Storm back as a yearling in 2009 after they were unwanted at the Ascot December Yearling Sales.
Sadly however Lucas died of cancer just a few hours after Trade Storm’s Zabeel Mile success.
The remaining co-owners then sold the horse in full to Sheikh Fahad Al Thani who also owns the 2011 Melbourne Cup winner and last year’s Caulfield Cup champ Duanden.
Their fourth in the Dubai Duty Free was their first run for the Sheikh under the Qatar Racing Ltd banner.
Originally sent to be prepared in Gloucestershire by John Gallagher Trade Storm started five times during their juvenile season before coming on well as a three-year-old to win over 1400m at Doncaster.
They failed to finish in the money again until August last year however, transferred to Simcock’s care during that time.
After re-discovering their form with a second over the Ascot mile Trade Storm went on to win at York and has continued to progress from there with Sheikh Fahad’s racing manager David Redvers confirming Cox Plate ambitions for the horse whose sire Trade Fair has stood at Western Australia’s Alwyn Park Stud for the past six years.
“The Cox Plate is our priority,” Redvers told The West Australian back in April.
“Sheikh Fahad is expanding his Australasian racing and breeding interests and Trade Storm can further lift our profile.
“He’s world class. We wouldn’t entertain bringing out a horse if he was not up to it.”
Simcock will now discuss the exact plans with connections believing the Cox Plate to still be the focus.
“We don’t have an exact plan, we need to talk to David (Redvers) and the team first,” he said.
“The Cox Plate is an option after being kindly invited and you never say never.”
Trade Storm is yet to be added to the Cox Plate futures betting markets at the online bookies in Australia but there are still early prices available on many other major players including the $4.20 favourite at bookmaker.com.au It’s A Dundeel.
To get in on the generous pre-nomination Cox Plate odds make sure you have a bookmaker.com.au account open, it only takes two minutes to sign-up and if you’re new to do so make a deposit quoting the code BONUSBET to have it matched as a bonus bet valued up to $500!