Racing Victoria International Racing scout Leigh Jordon has confirmed that leading Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has entered five horses into quarantine at Ballydoyle and they will make the trip to Australia for the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
Highland Reel, Order Of St George, Bondi Beach, Kingfisher and Ol’ Man River are all set to run in either the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) and Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and Jordon told Racing Ahead that he is hopeful that this is the start of Coolmore becoming regular visitors for the spring.
“Aidan notified me that he is going to put five horses into quarantine at Ballydoyle,” Jordon said.
“I thought that one or two may have come out, but he has put all five in, which is great.
“It is good to have him back, he is one of the world’s leading trainers and he won the Cox Plate last year.
“Hopefully we can have him as a regular visitor.”
Coolmore won the 2014 edition of the Cox Plate with Adelaide and they will be represented in this year’s race by Highland Reel.
Highland Reel took out the Group 1 Secretariat Stakes (2012m) at Arlington in the United States on August 15 before he finished fifth behind Golden Horn in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes (2011m) at Leopardstown on September 12, but Jordon believes that form could be good enough to win the Cox Plate.
“He won the Group 1 Secretariat and he was only beaten four lengths behind Golden Horn, which is pretty good form,” Jordon said.
“I think that with him the firmer track will be his go and he is obviously not to be discounted.
“He is a different horse to Adelaide, but it will be great to have him in the Cox Plate.”
Lloyd Williams purchased a share in Irish St Leger winner Order Of St George, Ladbrokes St Leger winner Bondi Beach and Ascot Gold Cup runner-up Kingfisher earlier in the week and Jordon confirmed that all three stayers are set to make the trip to Australia for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3.
“Order Of St George couldn’t have been more impressive in the Irish St Leger, winning by 11 lengths,” Jordon said.
“His last two wins have been on soft surfaces and Aidan thinks he will handle firm just as well.
“Bondi Beach won the English St Leger in a controversial protest, but he has been in rare form.
“His run in the Ascot Gold Cup was super and he had a long break after that.
“He had two runs after that on wet tracks, but if he came back to his form when winning the Saval Beg then he is obviously a horse to be reckoned with.”
Ol’ Man River rounds out the five Coolmore-owned horses that have entered quarantine and he is likely to be given the chance to return to winning form in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
The Montjeu colt has not recorded a race win since he took out the Group 2 Beresford Stakes (1609m) at Curragh in September of last year, but Jordon believes that the change of environment could help the Northern Hemisphere three-year-old return to his best form.
“Through the Dante he was going to be one of the Derby favourites, but he lost his way a little bit,” Jordon said.
“You never know with these horses and a race like the Mackinnon looks like the ideal race for a horse like him.”
Highland Reel is currently available at 2015 Cox Plate odds of $11 with Ladbrokes, while Order Of St George is rated the best of the three Coolmore Melbourne Cup hopefuls at a quote of $15.