Former jockey turned Irish trainer Johnny Murtagh plans to take his visiting stayer Mutual Regard straight into November’s Melbourne Cup 2014 field without a trial with the six-year-old settling well down under.
Murtagh’s last Melbourne Cup appearance was riding the 18th placed Septimus in the 2008 edition of the ‘race that stops a nation’ that was won by the Bart Cummings-trained Viewed.
He returns in 2014 with two possible chances in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), the famous Flemington feature running on Tuesday November 4.
His best chance looks to be Hernando gelding Mutual Regard who he travelled down under to check on over the weekend.
The Irish raider was last seen winning the Ebor Handicap (2816m) at York on August 23, a race that has produced a number of notable Melbourne Cup performers in recent years.
Everything looks on track for the horse, which arrived at the Werribee quarantine centre on September 27, with Murtagh pleased with Mutual Regard’s condition ahead of a run in the world’s richest handicap.
“He’s settled in really well,” Murtagh told Racing Victoria on Monday.
“He’s a pretty straight forward horse. He travelled over good, he lost a few kilos, but he’s putting them back on. He’s going well and he seems to be nice and fresh.
“Starting now, he’s got a month to go and he’s got a busy month ahead of him.
“He has to take all his work. He’ll go straight there and I’m hoping to have him in the same shape as I had when he turned up in York.”
Mutual Regard could also be joined in this year’s Melbourne Cup field by stable mate Royal Diamond who is still in quarantine at Newmarket back in England.
Nine-year-old King’s Best gelding Royal Diamond hasn’t won a race since October last year and was last seen running a well beaten sixth in the Group 1 Irish St. Leger (2816m) behind Brown Panther at The Curragh on September 14.
“He’s moving great. If he turns up and brings his A-game, he’s definitely a shout,” Murtagh said of the veteran.
“He’s a seasoned traveller, he’s been to Dubai. He really enjoyed Dubai. I don’t think there will be any issue with him.”
Both horses are at juicy odds in futures Melbourne Cup betting with Royal Diamond the roughie of the two at around $51 to Mutual Regard’s $31 quote.
Murtagh is super excited about returning again to watch his horses this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, especially in the Melbourne Cup.
“It’s exciting to have two horses in the Melbourne Cup,” he said.
“I was at the races on Saturday, There was a great buzz. It’s very well done, very well run, very professional.
“I’ve seen a few things over the past few days which have really impressed me.
“It’s a huge carnival, there is huge racing coming and I’m looking forward to coming back a week before the Cup and getting into the atmosphere of the whole lot.”
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