Antiquarium could be Melbourne Cup 2016 bound down under this spring after the Godolphin-raced European stayer won at Newmarket over the weekend.
Australia’s James McDonald guided the Charlie Appleby-trained son of New Approach to victory in the Northumberland Plate (3251m) at England’s Newmarket Racecourse scoring the upset as a 16/1 shot over the favourite Seamour.
It was a strong late finish from the four-year-old who connections are considering for a $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) campaign this spring in Australia on the first Tuesday of November.
Godolphin’s chief executive John Ferguson confirmed the Melbourne Cup was on the cards, but that a final decision would be made after Antiquarium’s next run.
“Antiquarium won the Plate, running off a mark of 99, and he will obviously go up in the handicap,” Ferguson told Racing Victoria.
“His next run will tell us more about the feasibility of Melbourne.”
Racing Victoria’s international talent scout Leigh Jordon has previous approached Goldophin about bringing Antiquarium to Melbourne for a shot at the world’s richest handicap as well as the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in October.
Sydney-based jockey McDonald, who enjoyed his first win for the powerhouse racing stable during the English summer aboard Antiquarium, said the Northumberland Plate winner was impressive late.
“This is my fourth stint riding in Britain, but it was my biggest win here and it meant a lot to me,” he commented on Godolphin’s website.
“Full credit to Antiquarium, who really accelerated in the closing stages to win it with an impressive finishing thrust. We know he stays well, and he is improving. It was a very good effort.
“I have to admit the Tapeta track surface was slower than I had been anticipating. I had ridden on something similar in Singapore, which was a lot faster. I am sure climate plays a big part in how these synthetic tracks ride.
“It was hard work for many horses in the Plate, but Antiquarium has a good turn of foot. That will be a big string to his bow as he progresses up the ladder. He’s got a good future.
“I felt honoured to win the Northumberland Plate for Team Godolphin. The race itself has so much tradition and it has been won by many very good stayers. I was thrilled for Charlie Appleby and everybody connected with the horse.”
Fellow international Order Of St George currently leads all-in Melbourne Cup betting at $13 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Part owned by Australia’s Lloyd Williams, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Galileo stallion will chase a second Group 1 Irish St Leger (2816m) win in September.
His subsequent Melbourne Cup weight will then confirm or deny him a trip to Victoria, Williams confirming he would need to receive no more than 56kg from Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter.