Co-owner Darren Dance has confirmed that the 2014 Cox Plate is still on the agenda for talented entire Guest Of Honour, who will arrive in Australia in the first planeload of European contenders for the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Guest Of Honour has recorded two wins from as many starts this season, taking out the Listed Ganton Stakes (1609m) at York on June 14 and the Group 2 Summer Mile Stakes (1609m) during the 2014 Royal Ascot Meeting, and is on track to enter quarantine within the next fortnight before arriving in Australia at the end of the month.
Dance told Sky Racing HQ that Guest Of Honour would make his Australian racing debut in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11 and the Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock owner is hoping that the Cape Cross entire will run well enough to earn a start in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
“We are still hopeful,” Dance said.
“He goes into quarantine on the first shipment and all being well he will go into the Toorak at Caulfield as his first Australian start.
“He will be running against Dan Excel in that race I suspect and we will get a pretty good guide for the Cox Plate out of that.
“If he can run top three and be impressive we will know that he will have improvement for the Cox Plate.
“You just can’t say I want to run in the Cox Plate because you actually have to get invited, so we would like to be there and hopefully our rating is high enough and we run well enough in the Toorak to get a run in the Cox Plate because that is what we bought the horse to achieve.”
Guest Of Honour has had just one start at Group 1 level, when he finished ninth in the Arlington Million Stakes (2011m) in the United States Of American in August last year, but he has form around the likes of 2013 Cox Plate runner Mull Of Killough, Queen Anne Stakes placegetter Aljamaaheer and 2013 Caulfield Guineas winner Long John.
Guest Of Honour is currently available at 2014 Cox Plate odds of $26, with talented mare Silent Achiever ($11) a narrow favourite from Aidan O’Brien-trained Adelaide ($13) and Hong Kong star Dan Excel ($15).