Confirming to make his Australian racing debut at Flemington next Tuesday, renowned Irish trainer Johnny Murtagh has revealed he is thrilled with the condition of eight-year-old Royal Diamond leading into the 2014 Melbourne Cup.
Securing a particularly impressive ten race wins and eleven minor places from his 36 competitive starts so far, Royal Diamond began his racing career under British trainer Sir Mark Prescott in 2008 and has since passed through the stables of Michael Dods, Jonjo O’Neill and Thomas Carmody on his way to the care of Murtagh.
Working well in the lead-up to the Race That Stops a Nation, Murtagh told TVN he is confident the King’s Best gelding proven experience and success over two miles at the highest level will be key in a successful Melbourne Cup tilt.
“He loves two miles and he has class on his side,” Murtagh said.
“He’s an Irish St Leger winner and an Ebor Handicap winner so he’s got a lot in his favour.”
Having also confirmed talented five-year-old Mutual Regard for the 2014 Melbourne Cup, Murtagh said both horses had thrived since arriving in Australia and passing through quarantine.
“I couldn’t be happier with both horses,” Murtagh added.
Failing to finish outside the places in an impressive 2012 season, Royal Diamond finished third in the Ulster Derby (2587m) and second in the Ebor (2816m) before charging home to win the featured Group 1 Irish St Leger (2816m) ahead of a talented field in September.
Returning to racing similarly slick form in 2013, the gelding out of Irresistible Jewel won each of the Listed Challenge Stakes (2816m) and Group 3 St Leger Stakes (2816m), and while unable to match the late pace of Voleuse De Coeurs in the Irish St Leger, returned to the winner’s circle in the Group 3 Long Distance Cup (3218m) at Royal Ascot in October.
Having finished second in the St Leger Trial and sixth in the Irish St Leger in the lead-up to his maiden Australian racing tenure, Royal Diamond is currently available at particularly generous odds of $41 for success in Melbourne Cup betting markets with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.
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