The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Connections of the William Haggas-trained European raider Mukhadram have ruled out a Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup 2014 bid for the stallion which won’t be travelling down under for a shot at the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival this season.
One of the original invitees by the Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) for this year’s $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) on October 25, the Shamardal five-year-old has officially been ruled out of a trip to Australia.
Instead the Group 1 Coral Eclipse Stakes winner will finish off the season with a Northern Hemisphere campaign at home before retiring to serve at stud.
His new next-up target instead of the Cox Plate will likely be the Group 1 Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday week where he will face his last start conqueror Australia once again.
“Hopefully, the plan is to take Mukhadram to Ireland,” Angus Gold, racing manager to Mukhadram’s owner, told the Racing Post this week.
“Sheikh Hamdan didn’t want to go to Australia with him as he wanted him to finish his career in Europe.
“Providing all is well, the plan after Ireland will be to have another crack at the Champion Stakes at Ascot.”
Racing Victoria’s international talent scout Leigh Jordon was contacted earlier in the week by the Newmarket-based trainer of the Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum-owned Mukhadram Haggas to say he wouldn’t be bringing the horse to Victoria.
“William sent me an email a couple of days ago letting me know he’s definitely not coming for the Cox Plate,” Jordon told Racing Victoria.
Last seen running fourth behind the promising Australia in the Group 1 International Stakes (2092m) at York on August 20, Mukhadram was also an official nominee for the $3 million Group 1 Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18.
While it would have been a wonderful goal, Haggas said he was more than happy to follow the owner’s wishes to bypass an Australian campaign and take the horse to Ireland next start.
“Sheikh Hamdan is conscious Mukhadram has had a few hard races this summer, but if I’m happy with the horse in the run-up to Ireland he’ll run there,” he said.
This week the release of the Caulfield Cup weights saw Mukhadram attract the biggest handicap with 58kg.
News of his confirmed non-acceptance into the Caulfield Cup field then will see all the weights raised one kilogram so that the John Moore-trained Dan Excel becomes the new 58kg top weight.
Moore’s fellow son of Shamardal however is also far from a confirmed Caulfield Cup acceptor, the Hong Kong champion last seen posting a second career Group 1 win in the Singapore International Cup in May with Australia’s Tommy Berry in the saddle.
Should Dan Excel also fail to accept the Caulfield Cup weights will be raised a further kilo making highly regarded Japanese raider Admire Rakti the top weight up from an original handicap of 56kg.
Mukhadram was rated a $101 chance in the futures Caulfield Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au with the galloper always unlikely to make the trip.
Markets are led by The Offer ($15), the Sydney Cup winner returning for Gai Waterhouse in Melbourne this weekend racing in the $250,000 Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
To access all the latest spring racing markets from the Dato on Saturday through to October’s two majors make sure you’ve got an account open online at Ladbrokes.com.au!
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