The race is now on for the final spot in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup field 2013 after this morning’s announcement that John Sargent’s New Zealand-bred mare Quintessential would not be accepting.
Instead the five-year-old daughter of Fast ‘n’ Famous has been immediately retired to stud, obviously ruling her out of the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on the weekend.
Winner of the Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) in Brisbane this winter gone, Quintessential divided her time between NZ and Australia enjoying top grade success in both.
Some of her most notable achievements included her third in the 2012 New Zealand Oaks and then her Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) win in the mud in June last year.
One run after her Oaks win Quintessential also finished a brave second to Brambles from the outside barrier (18 of 18) in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m).
A winner of six of her 25 starts for $777,165 in career prize money, Quintessential was last seen running 12th to Happy Trails in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington from October 5.
The mare was in line to snare the final position in the capacity 18-starter Caulfield Cup field this year, guaranteed a spot.
However after a below par gallop this morning the decision was made to send her on a new career path in the breeding barn.
“She’s as sound as a bell, it was just her work this morning, I didn’t think it was up to grade to run in a Group 1 race like the Caulfield Cup,” Sargent said on RSN’s Racing Ahead.
“She’s a very expensive mare in the broodmare paddock and the owner decided that instead of just having a runner for the sake of it, we’ll retire her and she’ll go to Fastnet Rock.”
It will now be up to the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) to allocate the 18th spot to either Nicky Henderson’s UK raider Forgotten Voice or the Gai Waterhouse-trained Julienas.
Waterhouse’s veteran Cape Cross seven-year-old was last seen running second to one of Lloyd Williams’ Caulfield Cup defectors Seville in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 5.
In the pre-field Caulfield Cup odds they are the better fancied of the two to win paying around $31 while Danehill Dancer nine-year-old Forgotten Voice was at $41, a nice price for a horse that last won the Group 3 Glorious Stakes (2414m) at Goodwood.
With the final acceptances now closed, the 2013 Caulfield Cup field will officially be announced at 3:00pm (AEST) this afternoon followed by the barrier draw tomorrow.
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