Hounds in frame for Aussie raid
Wednesday 15 August 2012
Connections of Master Of Hounds will make a decision on a possible trip to Australia in the next few days.
The four-year-old was Group One placed for Aidan O'Brien in 2011 before being sold to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, but after failing to sparkle for South African trainer Mike de Kock he was switched to William Haggas' care in Newmarket, and has the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 27, in his sights.
"He didn't really run his race in the World Cup, but he's had a nice break and his work is super at the moment. He's a thoroughly nice, genuine horse," Haggas told Sky Racing Radio.
"Really it's only in the last two weeks that I've thought that we should be considering Australia. I've put it to the owner and his team and they are considering it now.
"We have an option of going to Turkey for a very valuable Group Two race in early September. Sadly he can't run in Turkey and then go to Australia so it will be one or the other and the decision will be made in the next week. If he doesn't go to Turkey he'll go to York as he needs a race here before he goes to Australia.
"He'll have an 8lb penalty in (the Strensall Stakes) and he'll run a very good race and not win I suspect. He's a very adaptable horse, he's just the type really."
Atlantic Jewel, who is co-owned by the Coolmore team, was a likely favourite for the Cox Plate but she has been ruled out with a tendon problem.
The unbeaten four-year-old, trained by Mark Kavanagh, is now likely to be sidelined until next year.
Regular rider Michael Rodd tweeted: "Still hard 2 believe that AJ is out for the spring, was really looking forward 2 showing what she can do. FingersX on a full & speedy recov. "