Dan Excel has arrived in Australia and will spend 14 days at the Eastern Creek Quarantine Station before beginning preparations for the 2014 Cox Plate.
Trainer John Moore revealed last month that he was keen to send Dan Excel to Australia as soon as possible, despite the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) being held at the end of October, and the Singapore Airlines International Cup winner arrived in Australia yesterday morning.
Dan Excel has done plenty of travelling during his racing career to date and Eastern Creek Quarantine Manager Damian Ford told Racing Victoria that the Shamardal gelding had handled the nine hour flight from Hong Kong to Australia.
“Dan Excel looks to have travelled well and he stepped off the plane in good order this morning before being floated to Eastern Creek,” Ford said.
“He’s a seasoned horse that is quite well travelled and he’s settling in well to another foreign setting.”
The arrival of Dan Excel four months before the running of the Cox Plate represents a new strategy for international trainers preparing horses for the feature races during the Spring Racing Carnival and Racing Victoria International Recruitment Officer Leigh Jordon is hoping that other trainers will follow a similar path in the next few years.
Dan Excel has not been seen at the races since he took out the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup (2000m) in impressive fashion at Kranji on May 18 and Jordon said that the six-year-old will likely have at least two lead-up runs in Australia before contesting the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 25.
“It is earlier than we’ve traditionally seen the first international horses arrive in Australia for the Spring Racing Carnival but it’s extremely exciting to have Dan Excel here already,” Jordon said.
“He has proven his ability at an elite level on the world stage and will be one of the best performed internationally-trained horses to contest the Cox Plate.
“It’s great to have a horse of his calibre, as well as a trainer with the standing of John Moore, here for the spring and I’m looking forward to seeing him race.
“He’ll kick off training at Rosehill before he gets transferred down here to Melbourne to run in a couple of lead-up races, although the stable are keeping his options quite open at this early stage.”
Dan Excel is currently available at 2014 Cox Plate odds of $17; with Carlton House ($9) a narrow favourite in the Cox Plate betting market at Ladbrokes Australia from Sacred Falls ($11), Silent Achiever ($11), Royal Descent ($13), Almalad ($15), Happy Trails ($15) and Boban ($17).