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Godolphin assembling Melbourne Cup raiding party

Bin Surour’s Prize Money and Appleby’s Francis Of Assisi among hopefuls

Gulf News

Dubai: Meydan scorer Prize Money heads a promising squad of Godolphin hopefuls currently being groomed for this year’s Group 1 Melbourne Cup, Australia’s richest and most famous race which takes place on November 7.

Even as the weights for the A$6million (Dh17.73 million) extravaganza were announced by Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter, Godolphin’s European stayers were being moved into quarantine at Newmarket in England, in preparation for their 21-hour flight to Down Under.

The Dubai-owned world thoroughbred powerhouse, who are bidding for a first victory in the 3,200 metre contest following three seconds, received an early boost with last year’s third-placed finisher, Hartnell, being allotted second top weight of 57.5kg and top weight of 58km in the Group 1 A$3 million Caulfied Cup.

Godolphin trainers Saeed Bin Surour and Charlie Appleby are both overseeing the mandatory quarantine procedure for the first shipment which starts on Thursday.

“We have four entries at the moment and will decide on final plans in coming weeks,” Bin Surour told the Godolphin website.

“Prize Money (winner of the Dubai Gold Cup) is guaranteed a run with 55kg, and the plan is to take him out to Australia along with Natural Scenery (51kg), who runs at Doncaster on Thursday.

“Winning Story (51kg) came out of the Ebor in good form, and we will make a decision regarding him and Red Galileo (50.5kg) as we get nearer the race,” he added.

Appleby’s team is headed by former hurdler Francis Of Assisi, weighted on 54kg in both Cups, while Qewy (53kg), fourth in the race last year, and Kidmenever (50.5kg) occupy slots further down the scale. Folkswood, also to travel, holds an entry in the G1 Cox Plate.

“The weights were pretty much what we expected,” Appleby said.

“The four will go into quarantine later this week and ship out to Australia 14 days later.

“Two of the four we send from my yard have been to Australia before, so that is good experience to have under the belt.

“Kidmenever will probably need to win one of the prep races to get into the Cup, but we’ll give it a shot anyway,” the trainer added.

“I’m looking forward to going down to Australia again, and if we can get one winner, we shall be delighted,”