Trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam has confirmed that English gelding Mull Of Killough will enter quarantine in Newmarket on Thursday ahead of his trip to Melbourne for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Mull Of Killough was one of four European-trained gallopers included in the first acceptances for the 2013 Cox Plate that were released by Racing Victoria yesterday and is set to be the first horse trained outside of Australia and New Zealand to contest the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship since Paolini finished tenth in the 2004 edition of the race.
The seven-year-old is a seasoned international traveler, having previously competed in the Group 1 Singapore International Cup (2000m) and the Group 1 Arlington Million Stakes (2011m), and has been successful at Group 3 level in England on two occasions.
Chapple-Hyam has taken Mull Of Killough from a handicapper to an international Group 1 contender and she is confident that the gelding is a winning chance in the Cox Plate, despite most of his best form being on galloping tracks with long straights rather than tight-turning circuits like Moonee Valley.
“You probably look at his form and say that he has been on galloping tracks but he won nicely at Lingfeld which is a sharp track,” Chapple-Hyam said on RSN.
“He is a balanced horse and I don’t have a problem.
“The galloping tracks that he has won at, when he did three in a row at Newmarket, that was purely because those races were available at the time and he did well at Kranji in Singapore.
“I think he will handle the track.”
Mull Of Killough was ridden by leading Ballydoyle stable rider Joseph O’Brien (son of leading Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien) in the Arlington Million Stakes but with O’Brien expected to be unavailable for the Cox Plate, Chapple-Hyam is searching for an Australia jockey who has previous experience riding at Moonee Valley.
“At Moonee Valley I feel like I have to get a local Melbourne jockey and I have sent a few emails but I haven’t had any responses.
“If I don’t get a response I’ll send an English or Irish jockey out.
“It clashes with the Racing Post Trophy weekend so I am sure that Aidan O’Brien has got runners there so I think Joseph will be taken for that.”
Chapple-Hyam grew up in Australia and is the daughter of former Liberal Party of Australia leader Andrew Peacock.