Qatar Racing Targets 2018 Melbourne Cup with Count Octave
The latest foreign raider to join the list for the 2018 Melbourne Cup is Count Octave, a horse running out of the Qatar Racing operation.
The young colt does his racing in Great Britain. He is by Frankel, a British horse that made 14 starts and won 14 times, by our count, and 10 of those wins were at Group 1 level. He at one time had a timeform rating of 147, the highest on record.
Count Octave would seem to be a legitimate contender for the Melbourne Cup. He has raced eight times, won two and placed in four, so if there ever were a horse worth a plane ticket from England to Australia, this would seem to be the one. Three of his wins were at 2400 metres or beyond.
Trainer Andrew Balding intends to try Count Octave one more time before sending him down under.
Balding, quoted by the Qatar Racing website, said, “Count Octave’s likely route will be either the Lonsdale Cup or the Ebor at York. It depends on where Sheikh Fahad would like to run him, with the former being the more likely.However, long term, the aim is the Lexus Melbourne Cup.”
Count Octave has yet to win anything beyond Group 2, but he seems to have the goods and if he can deal with the travel and quarantine process, expect to see him well up in the betting.
Plenty of other UK horses will be making the trip, about nine so far. Japanese horses are also in the mix.
The foreign interest is no doubt spurred (sorry) somewhat by the boost in prizemoney the Melbourne Cup received as Racing Victoria is chasing Racing NSW following the latter’s debut of The Everest, which stole the bragging rights of richest turf race in Australia from the Melbourne Cup.
Count Octave’s owner Sheikh Fahad, won the Melbourne Cup withDunaden in 2011.
If this trend continues, is there a Melbourne Cup in the future with no Australian horses in the field?