The Gordon Elliott-trained hurdler and flat race stayer Commissioned could be Melbourne Cup 2016 bound this spring after the Irish six-year-old’s success in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot last weekend.
The list of international raiders with their sights set on the biggest prize in Australian racing continues to grow in the aftermath of the Royal Ascot carnival in England.
One horse with the $6 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November, Commissioned earned a shot at the ‘race that stops a nation’ after winning Britain’s longest flat race.
Ridden by Adam Kirby the son of Authorized led over the final furlong of last weekend’s marathon, staying the distance well and holding off 40/1 shot Cayirli to take out the Queen Alexandra Stakes (4370m).
Among the beaten brigade in the Queen Alexandra Stakes was Willie Mullins’ veteran nine-year-old Simenon (15th), a galloper familiar to Australian punters as he travelled down under in 2014 running fourth in the Melbourne Cup to Fiorente.
The Queen Alexandra was talented hurdler Commissioned’s maiden run for Elliott, a former champion jumps jockey who now trains out of County Meath in Ireland, and his new connections.
The horse was formerly prepared by who John Ferguson retired from training after gaining a new role as Godolphin’s chief executive and racing manager in the UK.
Commissioned was subsequently sold off at the Tattersalls Ireland Sale out of Ferguson’s Bloomfields dispersal in April and Nick Bradley purchased the proven stayer for £65,000 (A$127,965).
“When I went to the sale, he was the horse I wanted to buy,” Bradley told the English media on Tuesday.
“I paid a bit more than I wanted to for him, but it’s been a few years since I’ve been as excited about a horse as I was about him.
“Saturday was obviously a great day and hopefully there’s a lot to look forward to.”
Among the things Bradley is looking forward to is a possible trip down under for the Melbourne Cup, which he said was “Plan A” for Commissioned.
“The Goodwood Cup is a possibility, or we could go to York for either the Ebor or the Lonsdale Cup, but the Melbourne Cup is Plan A,” he said.
“He won’t be going back over hurdles. He doesn’t look like a hurdler to me.”
The Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3219m) runs on July 28 over the same two mile distance as the iconic Melbourne Cup, while the Group 2 Ebor Handicap (2816m) and the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3299m) both run at York Racecourse on August 19.
All-in Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au is currently led by the weekend’s Ascot Gold Cup winner Order Of St George, another Royal Ascot graduate being considered for a shot at the world’s richest handicap.
He is majority owned by Australia’s Lloyd Williams, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Irish St Leger winning Galileo stallion sweating on his Melbourne Cup weight allocation before a final call is made.
The internationals dominate futures Melbourne Cup betting with the other best fancied runners in pre-nomination markets being Japan’s Fame Game ($17) and last year’s runner-up Max Dynamite ($17).
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