By Jon Lees
Germany: Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Andreas Wohler is so keen to supervise the preparation of his latest Spring Carnival challenger Ashrun that he has secured a special exemption to travel to Australia.
Wohler, successful with Protectionist in 2014, will be the only international trainer present in Melbourne for one of the strongest-ever European assaults on Australia’s major prizes.
He is due to fly to Sydney next week where he will spend two weeks in quarantine before travelling to Melbourne to link up with G3 winner Ashrun and his stable staff.
“I have got a travel exemption but I will have to quarantine for a fortnight when I arrive in Sydney,” said Wohler. “It’s a special race, under different circumstances this time, but still a big race and I want to be there personally.”
Ashrun has been bought by Australian Bloodstock, the same ownership group involved in Protectionist, who was ridden by Ryan Moore to beat Red Cadeaux at Flemington six years ago, and Red Cardinal who was 11th in 2017.
The similarities don’t end there, with Ashrun having his final European prep in the G2 Prix Kergorlay, in which he ran second behind Call The Wind. Protectionist won that race in 2014.
Wohler said: “I’ve seen a lot of videos of Ashrun since he arrived in Australia and my guys are really happy with him. From what I could see he seems to be enjoying it.
“He ran in the Prix Kergorlay last time the same as Protectionist did before he went. Protectionist was a different type of horse, a more classy horse, but Ashrun hasn’t raced a lot and he is an improving horse and that’s always good to have because it’s a handicap.”
Ashrun is 38th in the Melbourne Cup order of entry but he could move one closer to getting a start with doubts over Port Guillaume who was ruled out of the Caulfield Cup due to lameness on Thursday.
Prix Hocquart winner Port Guillaume hailed from the Jean-Claude Rouget stable of Arc hero Sottsass and was due to race in Australia for Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes.
Wohler said: “Hopefully Ashrun will get in the Melbourne Cup. The guys out there are quite confident that under normal circumstances he will get into the race. If everything goes to plan he will run in the Geelong Cup on October 21 first.”
He added: “I think he will run a very good race in the Melbourne Cup because he travelled well and seems happy down there. Everything is going fine so far.”