John Moore’s 2014 Cox Plate-bound galloper Dan Excel has arrived in Australia ahead of their maiden campaign down under this coming spring.
Aussie expat Moore has established himself as one of Hong Kong’s top trainers and this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival he’s after a win in one of Victoria’s top races.
He’s eyeing the $3 million Group 1 Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 for his Shamardal gelding Dan Excel.
The six-year-old successfully made the trip to Oz over the weekend and landed in Sydney on Monday.
They are set to spend two weeks at the Eastern Creek equine quarantine centre.
After that they’ll be prepared by Moore’s brother Gary at his Rosehill stables.
Former top Macau trainer Gary Moore recently secured 24 stalls at Rosehill Gardens, boxes made available after fellow horseman Tim Martin let his go to take a timeout from training.
A dual Group 1 winner, Dan Excel was last seen securing his second elite level title in the Group 1 Singapore International Cup (2000m) at Kranji on May 18.
He was ridden by Sydney hoop Tommy Berry there when defeating Smoking Sun (2nd) and Military Attack (3rd) by one and three quarters, and three and a quarter lengths respectively.
French stallion Smoking Sun and Dan Excel’s stable mate Military Attack, a four time Group 1 winner themselves including last year’s Singapore Cup, are also among the 10 international invitees to this year’s Cox Plate from Racing Victoria.
Dan Excel’s other Group 1 victory was in The Champions Mile over 1600m at Sha Tin in May last year.
Their form over the past six months has been outstanding leading up to their Singapore Cup success as they’ve run top four in all six of their runs this year.
It’s that form that earned them a chance at the Cox Plate and that Moore hopes they can replicate on Aussie turf.
They’ll begin training in earnest at the end of August and will likely kick off on September 6 at Moonee Valley in the $300,000 Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m).
Early plans are to give the galloper one final Cox Plate lead-up in a race such as the $200,000 Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) back at the Valley on September 26, the $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4 or the following week’s $400,000 Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m).
Futures Cox Plate betting markets are already open at Ladbrokes.com.au and led by the Gai Waterhouse-trained Carlton House ($9).
Dan Excel meanwhile is the equal shortest priced of the internationals at $17 along with the fellow Moore-trained Group 1 champ Designs On Rome.
Cox Plate 2014 nominations close in early August and will be published right here at Races.com.au.
Before then however there are juicy prices being offered on the early fancies at Ladbrokes.com.au so make sure you put on an all-in bet to cover your bases!