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Racing Victoria’s international talent scout Leigh Jordon is positive the weight-for-age Cox Plate 2015 would be the perfect race for Irish raider The Grey Gatsby who is one of the dozen international invites for the Moonee Valley spring classic.
Some of the world’s best thoroughbreds have been extended an invitation by the Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) to travel to Melbourne this October and contest the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m).
One horse Jordon is especially keen to see take up the invite is the Kevin Ryan-trained Mastercraftsman four-year-old The Grey Gatsby who was far from disgraced when running second behind fellow Cox Plate invitee Free Eagle as the beaten favourite in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2000m) at Royal Ascot last week.
Only a short head separated the first two over the line in the classic, and The Grey Gatsby was gallant in defeat having been held up throughout before putting on a strong challenge over the closing stages.
Australia’s Criterion finished fifth in that same race and the form coming out of it looks strong heading towards this year’s Cox Plate, especially in regards to The Grey Gatsby who was one of last year’s highest rated horses in the world.
“The one I do really want to follow up on when I’m over (in Europe) is The Grey Gatsby, it would be a great coup to get him,” Jordon told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“I know they’ve probably got fairly lofty targets in Europe but he’s the sort of horse, he likes firm ground and would be well suited.”
Futures Cox Plate betting markets are already open at Ladbrokes.com.au and have Hong Kong’s Able Friend, prepared by expat Aussie trainer John Moore, as the early $7 favourite.
The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Criterion occupies the third line of the odds at $9 following Godolphin’s Ranvet Stakes champ Contriubter ($8) while The Grey Gatsby is yet to be added to the markets.
Jordon also confirmed that Ed Dunlop’s veteran galloper Red Cadeaux was Victorian-bound again this spring, the triple Melbourne Cup runner-up to race in his fifth $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
A rising 10-year-old, Red Cadeaux was last seen running a disappointing seventh behind Snow Sky in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2414m) at Ascot over the weekend.
“(Red Cadeaux) will have a little break and then he’ll start his campaign to head down to Melbourne,” Jordon said.
Hardwicke Stakes winner Snow Sky meanwhile was ultra-impressive, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained son of Nayef beating home Eagle Top by an easy margin, and Jordon is keen to convince connections to keep him on the Melbourne Cup path.
“Snow Sky was a great win and before that race I’d had discussions with trainer and owner that he was heading to the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup,” he said.
“Then Snow Sky won as brilliantly as he did … they’re talking the King George.
“I did correspond with Teddy Grimthorpe, who’s the racing manager for Juddmonte, after the race and he still said Melbourne isn’t off the table.
“So we’ll just have wait and see how he performs in the King George.”
The Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2414m) runs at Ascot on July 25.
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