Count Octave heading straight for Melbourne Cup challenge

Mon 27 Aug 2018

Andrew Balding plans to give Count Octave a short break before sending him to Australia for a tilt at the Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 5.

The four-year-old son of Frankel booked his ticket for a shot at the ‘race that stops a nation’ after finding only red-hot favourite Stradivarius too strong in the Lonsdale Cup at York on Friday.

Balding said: “He was really good at York and hopefully he will now go to the Melbourne Cup.

“As long as he gets a run he won’t run anywhere else in between. That was why he ran in the Lonsdale Cup rather than in the Ebor.

“He would have to have won the Ebor to get in, whereas he could have run well in the Lonsdale Cup and qualified, which he did obviously, and in some style finishing as close to Stradivarius as that.

“It means we should get enough weight to get in it.”

Stablemate Horseplay is likely to be kept at the top table following her solid effort in defeat in the Yorkshire Oaks at the Knavesmire on Thursday, with Balding earmarking the Qatar Prix Vermeille at ParisLongchamp on September 16 as a possible target.

Balding added: “We were very happy with her and she has come out of it great. We will look at the Vermeille next for her if she is OK.”

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