O’Brien Plans Cox Plate Raid With European Runners

By: Sarah Fortnum
July 14th, 2011

Coolmore Stud’s Aiden O’Brien has decided to return to Australia with a small team of horses to tackle some of the spring’s most prestigious races.

O’Brien, who failed badly with his three Melbourne Cup runners in 2008, is out to set the record straight with a handful of his stable stars.

The trainer’s main aim will be the Cox Plate, however, his chosen horses are unlikely to feature So You Think who appears to be aimed at both the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe and Breeder’s Cup instead.

However, Racing Victoria’s international consultant, Leigh Jordan, believes that So You Think may indeed make the trek down under.

“The vibe I’m getting from Aidan is that it’s a genuine option,” Mr Jordan said.

Mr Jordan said that he is more likely, however, to bring a horse such as Cape Blanco for the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.

“A horse like Cape Blanco would be more likely, first for the Cox Plate then the Melbourne Cup,” he said.

Cape Blanco won his last start in the Man O’ War Stakes in New York last weekend.

The international consultant said that Australia’s current quarantine issues were all that stood in O’Brien’s way.

“I’ve tried to entice Aidan back every year since and you could always tell that it wasn’t going to happen,” Jordon said.

“But this time he seems really keen.

“He said that if the quarantine issue could be sorted out, he’d come.”

The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) have asked for all horses located within 100 metres of all quarantine facilities in Europe to be moved for the three weeks before the quarantined horses are due to travelled to Australia.

Mr Jordan believes that this latest demand from AQIS could be easily adhered to.

“And I’ve spoken to the stud about maybe moving some broodmares and they seemed happy to oblige,” he said.

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