Cox Plate On Soulcombe’s Radar

Melbourne Cup runner-up Soulcombe is being aimed at a two-start campaign at Flemington in March, with an eye on the Cox Plate during spring.

Managing owner Ozzie Kheir said that the Chris Waller trained galloped has returned to work in great fettle and he is going that well that the Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on March 2 looks set to be the race he resumes in ahead of a tilt at the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) on March 30.

“He’s going to have a one or two-race program this campaign confined to Flemington as he loves the track. We will run over 1600m in the Blamey Stakes and then four weeks later into the Australian Cup,” Kheir said.

“He’s going fantastically well. We will limit his runs to Flemington for this campaign as he loves the track.”

Kheir said the focus for spring will be the Melbourne Cup for the five-year-old gelding but if he runs well in the Australian Cup, the Cox Plate would also be seriously considered.

“If he can show he’s sharp enough for a weight-for-age 2000 metres then we could look at a Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup campaign next spring,” Kheir said.

Kheir’s ownership group could also be represented in the Australian Cup by highly rated import Victoria Road.

Kheir said the American G1 winner is back in work and also ‘progressing well’ with Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.

“We found he had a niggling injury after he had run in the spring. He’s back in work now happy and progressing well,” he said.

Victoria Road was brought to Australia by Aidan O’Brien for the Cox Plate and finished ninth, before then transferring to Maher and Eustace, for whom he finished last in the VRC Champions Mile.

Kheir said Victoria Road is being set for a first-up tilt at the Australian Cup.

Another one of his imports, the Waller-trained Buckaroo, has also trialled well in Sydney and he will campaign there.


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