2015 Golden Slipper winner Vancouver is set to leave Australia and will continue his racing career under the care of Aidan O’Brien in Ireland.
Vancouver made his racing debut with an impressive victory in the Listed Breeders Plate (1000m) at Royal Randwick in October of 2014 and he stamped himself as the best two-year-old in Australia when he took out the Group 3 Canonbury Stakes (1100m), Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1400m) during the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
The Medaglia D’Oro colt was set for the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m), Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival, but he failed to fire when he returned to the races in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 15 and he was sent to the spelling paddock after he finished a flat third in a barrier trial over 1030 metres at Rosehill Gardens on September 1.
Waterhouse said at the end of last year that Vancouver had returned to track work to begin preparations for his autumn campaign, but she revealed in a statement on the Coolmore website this morning that the star colt would miss the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and be set for the 2016 Royal Ascot Meeting.
“He’s an incredibly talented horse and, with the Autumn falling so early this year and Royal Ascot an important goal in June, we decided in consultation with managing owner Coolmore that it would be best to send him to Ireland to give Aidan O’Brien the necessary time to prepare,” Waterhouse said.
“As an unbeaten champion two year-old and winner of the Golden Slipper, he has nothing more to prove in Australia.
“I have no doubt that he is world-class and this plan gives him the best opportunity of proving himself on the international stage, with a view to possible dual-hemisphere stud duties.
‘We’ll obviously be sad to see him go and I’m sure Aidan will have a lot of fun with him .
“Coolmore has followed this route very successfully in the past with So You Think, Starspangledbanner, Haradasun and others and I wish Aidan every success with a horse I consider as talented as any.”
Coolmore’s Australian principal Tom Magnier was quick to pay credit to the work that Waterhouse did with Vancouver as a two-year-old and he said that O’Brien was delighted to receive the opportunity to train such a talented galloper.
“Circumstances have forced our hand with Vancouver to an extent, but Gai is adamant that he’s a Royal Ascot horse and that’s where we’ll be aiming him,” Waterhouse said.
“I’ve spoken to Aidan and Joseph and they can’t wait for the horse to arrive.
“Gai and her team have done an wonderful job with him, as evidenced by his unforgettable two year-old season and let’s hope he does them proud on his travels.”
Coolmore are yet to decide on a Royal Ascot target for Vancouver, but the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1207m) could be on the agenda.