Melbourne Cup Unlikely For Universal

By: Thomas Hackett
July 12th, 2013

European stayer Universal scored an impressive victory in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes (2414m) at Newmarket this morning but according to connections is unlikely to travel to Australia for the 2013 Melbourne Cup (3200m).

The Dubawi four-year-old was far too strong for his opposition in the final stages of the feature race on the opening day of the July Festival  and ran away from the field to record a two a half-length victory from Ahzeemah and 2012 Melbourne Cup runner Cavalryman.

Racing Victoria’s International Scout Leigh Jordan was hopeful that trainer Mark Johnston could be convinced to bring Universal to Australia for the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival but Johnston appears to have other plans in mind for the promising entire.

“We will consider it (the Melbourne Cup) and have taken horses down there before,” Johnston said after the race.

“He wouldn’t necessarily appear to be the type of horse you need for the race and the Irish St Leger and Japan Cup would be more likely.

“He is in the King George, so we will get him home and think about that and see how the horse is.”

Johnston has had very little success in the Melbourne Cup and has generally been an outspoken critic of the race.

The British trainer was full of confidence when be brought Double Trigger to the race in 1995 but the dour stayer faded to finished seventeenth behind Doriemus while Fox Hunt (7th) and Jukebox Jury (20th) both missed the placing’s in 2011.

“I hate running Group horses in handicaps, so the Melbourne Cup is not my favourite race,” Johnston said in 2011.

“The Melbourne Cup is not seen in Europe as it is in Australia, I would be lying if I said the Melbourne Cup has anywhere near the same kudos in Europe it has over here.”

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