Irish trainer Johnny Murtagh prepared two horses for the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 4 but will leave Australia with just one remaining in his care.
Stable mates Mutual Regard and Royal Diamond, who finished 14th and 20th in the 2014 Melbourne Cup, have enjoyed a spell since the ‘race that stops the nation’ three weeks ago and will resume their training with Caulfield trainer John Sadler shortly.
However they will part ways soon after as five-year-old gelding Mutual Regard will re-join Murtagh in Dubai for the Group 2 Gold Cup (3200m) on March 28 while eight-year-old Royal Diamond will stay on with Sadler and prepare for the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) in the autumn.
“The plan with Mutual Regard was to leave him here for a break instead of going back to Ireland,” Sadler told Sky Racing.
“He’s spelling in the warmer weather and he’ll probably come back to us in a couple of weeks.
“We’ll potter around with him and then send him to Johnny in Dubai.”
Royal Diamond will not be back in his stable for another three to four weeks, enjoying a much longer break. He will then begin preparing for the 2015 Sydney Cup on April 18, which Sadler is hoping will be a wet track.
“He could be suited in a race like the Sydney Cup,” he said.
“I would say another three or four weeks and then we’ll bring him back in and get him ready and I would like some wintry tracks for him.”
Both horses made their Australian racing debut in the Melbourne Cup. Mutual Regard jumped from barrier 11 and was three wide in midfield. He went into the straight looking for a run between his rivals but just battled too late, finishing just outside the top ten.
Royal Diamond jumped from barrier five and sat right behind the speed by the first post. He was gone at the turn and finished many lengths back in third last place.
The eight-year-old has enjoyed a number of successful black-type victories in his time in Ireland but only time will tell if he can keep up with the best Australian stayers in the Sydney Cup.
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