An impressive Secretariat Stakes win in the USA over the weekend has seen Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien confirm a trip down under to target the Cox Plate 2014 with the now Grade 1 winner Adelaide.
O’Brien hasn’t been seen in Australia since 2008 but nominated for four from his stables in this year’s $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) running at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 25.
Futures Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Roger James’ Kiwi mare Silent Achiever while O’Brien’s flying Galileo colt Adelaide is second best in betting at a current quote of $13.
He was stepped up to elite level company for the first time in July when also racing outside of Europe for the first time in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby (2011m).
There he finished a close second behind Mr Speaker before running in Chicago on Sunday to go one better in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes (2000m) at Arlington Park.
Adelaide is owned by Coolmore and their Australian racing manager James Bester confirmed the Secretariat Stakes success proved the exciting youngster was a genuine Cox Plate hope.
“He stepped up a notch and beat some very good horses,” he said.
“He’s a legitimate Cox Plate contender on that effort.
“The race was run over 2000m on what was described as a very firm track. It was a perfect Cox Plate test.”
Adelaide’s trip to Australia will be paid for by the Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) too after their chief executive Michael Browell tweeted on Sunday that the horse would officially be invited for the Cox Plate.
In other international racing news involving the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, both Seismos and Dandino booked Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup tickets with the Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock (ATB) owned duo both performing well over the weekend.
Seismos won the Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2650m) at Newbury in England while Dandino produced a powerful late burst when second behind The Pizza Man in the US St Leger (2700m) at Arlington when just failing to successfully defend his title.
Dansili seven-year-old Dandino was runner-up behind Fawkner in last year’s Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on the back of their US St Leger victory before running a brave fifth to the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November.
ATB’s Darren Dance said the stallion would be back for both races again this year following their telling effort on the weekend, the galloper paying $21 through Ladbrokes.com.au for both the Cup features.
“He went super,” Dance said on Sunday of the Marco Botti-trained stayer.
“He’s a horse we can keep in cotton wool for most of the year as he’s certain to get a start in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.”
As for stablemate Seismos this year will be his maiden trip to Oz with the Geoffrey Freer win likely to take them up to 54kg in Caulfield Cup weights for the October 18 feature, enough to secure a start in the classic.
“He sat outside the leader and then he was swamped and looked gone, but he powered back to win in an ideal Caulfield Cup trial,” Dance said of their win.
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