The Cox Plate has its first confirmed international contender with the Roger Charlton-trained group 1 winner Aspetar (FR) seemingly certain to fly out to Melbourne in just over two weeks.
Fears were held by Racing Victoria officials that representatives from the European stables may not have their flights to Sydney honoured due to the pandemic, but RV confirmed on Monday that a staff member from Charlton’s stable was currently in the air and was expected to land in Sydney this evening.
RV’s general manager of international operations Paul Bloodworth said a stable hand from the stable of Charlie Fellowes was already quarantining in Sydney awaiting to meet up with Melbourne Cup star Prince Of Arran when he arrives at Werribee, while two members of Andreas Wohler’s staff was also already in Sydney quarantine.
They will both look after Cups chance Ashrun for new owners Australian Bloodstock when he arrives on the sole flight to Melbourne on October 2.
Willie Mullins has two staff booked to fly out on Tuesday to look after his Cups hopes Stratum and True Self while it is expected that between Aidan and Joseph O’Brien, another five or six staff are also likely to fly out on Tuesday.
“We had been a bit worried about Roger because he had been struggling to get a flight for his staff but managed to get one yesterday and he left yesterday afternoon so he’ll be arriving tonight,” Bloodworth said.
“I am feeling a lot better about that now as I was a bit nervous whether the flights would be honoured, but it looks as though its all coming together.
“You can pretty much lock in Aspetar now and I would expect Aidan would have one, maybe two runners (in the Cox Plate).
“Armory, the horse that ran third in the Irish Champion Stakes on the weekend behind Magical and Ghaiyyath, he’s a northern hemisphere three-year-old and that was by far his biggest test and he ran really well.
“He is going to have a high rating out of that race and he really shapes as a Cox Plate horse along the same lines as Adelaide (2014 winner).”
100th Cox Plate, picture MVRC