Godolphin-raced European galloper Scottish could be Melbourne bound this spring with the Cox Plate 2016 on the agenda for the classy Charlie Appleby trained horse.
Over the weekend the four-year-old won the Listed Steventon Stakes over 2011m at Newbury, jockey James Doyle guiding the son of Teofilo to victory over Berkshire.
Third in the same race was Ed Dunlop’s Trip To Paris, famous for his second to Mongolian Khan in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Melbourne Cup fourth at Flemington last season.
It was an improved effort by Scottish who ran third to Time Test two back in the Gerard Stakes at Sandown Park in the UK over the same distance, and has connections talking about a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival bid this season in Australia.
Scottish had one and three quarter lengths to spare on the line over the weekend, while Trip To Paris was a further one and a half back for third in his first run since suffering a tendon injury in last year’s Japan Cup.
Doyle was pleased with the ride aboard the race favourite who extended nicely as the temp quickened in the late stages.
“He’s a lovely horse and I’m pleased with that,” Doyle told Racing UK.
“He bounced off the ground and enjoyed himself out in front. I wound him up through the gears and he quickened away well.
“It’s nice when you have the horse that can do it that way. You just enjoy the ride.”
The all-the-way win also impressed his trainer Appleby, as did Doyle’s ride in the saddle, who confirmed Australian ambitions over the coming months.
“James gave him a lovely ride from the front. We knew there was no pace in the race,” he said.
“It was a great performance from Scottish and we came to Newbury very confident. Conditions suited us in terms of ground and trip.
“The plan was always potentially to go to Australia with him. How we get there, if he has another run beforehand we’ll see, but he’s going for the Cox Plate or the Mackinnon, two races down there, and may be joined by Tryster.
“He’s had a lovely trip round there today and enjoyed himself. He travelled well and picked up well enough.”
Known as Australasia’s weight-for-age championship, the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) takes place at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 22.
The race formerly known as the Mackinnon Stakes has been moved back a week and now headlines the Flemington action on the first Saturday in November, running as the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) on the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The last internationally-trained Cox Plate winner was Adelaide (2014), who was then prepared by Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien before a transfer to an Australian stable.
Pre-nomination Cox Plate betting at Ladbrokes.com.au is currently led by Chris Waller’s defending champion Winx ($2.80), the star mare to return to racing on August 20 at Randwick in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m).
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