Despite Racing Victoria’s international talent scout Leigh Jordon’s best intentions, the chances of the Queen of England’s horse Estimate making the trip to Australia for the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival are looking pretty slim.
The talented Monsun mare is prepared by Sir Michael Stoute in Newmarket who Jordon will be speaking to when they leave for Europe next week.
Their discussions will be focused on persuading Stoute and her Majesty the Queen to consider setting Estimate on a path towards the iconic $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November.
Estimate has won her past two races on the trot this year, her most recent effort being a game half length victory over Melbourne Cup hopeful Simenon in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup (4023m) at Royal Ascot during the Carnival.
That was the European four-year-olds’ first start in 50 days and her ability to hold on for the win in a big Group 1 over such a distance proved her potential as a genuine Melbourne Cup chance.
If Estimate were to book a trip to Australia for the spring staying features it would also be a major draw card for Racing Victoria having a horse owned by the Queen running in the world’s richest handicap.
While there is little doubt Estimate could be competitive in the ‘race that stops a nation,’ Jordon knows he’s facing an uphill battle convincing Stoute and co. that the Melbourne Cup would be a better race for the horse over the races closer to home over the coming months.
“I think the odds are against us but I will certainly be asking the question,” Jordon said.
“It seems Estimate will probably go for the Prix du Cadran in France in October but we are going to try and see if there is any interest in running the mare in the Melbourne Cup.”
The Queen has been represented in the Melbourne Cup once before with Arabian Story who was sixth to Might And Power back in 1997.
This year she also has the now Gai Waterhouse-trained stayer Carlton House in the mix, the Street Cry stallion more likely to be set for the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in October.
Jordon said they would likely see a trend for fewer internationally-trained stayers in the Melbourne Cup field as the handicap conditions make other end of year Group 1’s including France’s famous Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on the first Sunday of October more viable options.
“The race is changing, no doubt,” he said.
“You need to have a horse weighted around 54kg or above to be certain of getting into the Melbourne Cup field now so this means you have to look at the better European stayers and they are the horses more likely to run in races like the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Champion Stakes in October rather than the Melbourne Cup.
“I think the number of international Cup runners could be back to more like four to six runners each spring.”