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Qatar Racing’s smart four-year-old Lightning Spear could be Cox Plate 2015 bound Down Under this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival following a solid effort in Group 1 company in France over the weekend.
The progressive son of Pivotal ran fourth to the Andre Fabre-trained Esoterique in a close finish in the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois (1600m) at Deauville Racecourse on the back of a number of other good runs this season including a second behind stablemate Arod in the Group 2 Memorial Summer Mile Stakes (1600m) at Ascot the start before.
The Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained Arod is also heading towards Melbourne’s $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 24 this spring.
A four-year-old son of Teofilo, Arod was last seen running second to Solow when beaten only half a length in the Sussex Stakes in late July at Goodwood and leads the early Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Arod pays $10 as does the John O’Shea-trained Contributer in the all-in Cox Plate betting markets, but connections opted not to run the top fancy in the Prix Jacques Le Marois because of the rain-affected track.
Lightning Spear meanwhile pays $34 to win the Cox Plate after being beaten out of a third place finish by a mere nose on the weekend in a run that pleased the team’s racing manager David Redvers who spoke to Racing Victoria.
“We were thrilled with him,” Redvers said.
“The ground wasn’t ideal for him, he couldn’t quicken on it like he can. He has been improving all season and (trainer) Olly Stevens has done a great job with him.
“He’s becoming the Group 1 horse we always thought he was.
“We’ll look at the Prix du Moulin now before races like the QEII at Ascot, Australia and America.”
The Group 1 Prix du Moulin (1600m) runs over the mile at Longchamp Racecourse in France on September 13.
Redvers confirmed the Australian option as the Cox Plate and possibly also the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival in early November.
“We’re looking at the Moulin with him, and then the Cox Plate and the Emirates Stakes,” he said.
“There is a slight issue with trying to do the Moulin and the Cox Plate as he would have to go in the second quarantine and if something spikes a temperature or so on, it could affect him getting to the Cox Plate.
“Either way, the Emirates is another option, we think the style and tempo of Australian racing would really suit him. It is all something we will sit down and discuss with Sheikh Fahad sooner rather than later.”
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