By Jon Lees
GB: Melbourne Cup-winning owners Australian Bloodstock have taken a 50 per cent stake in the David Simcock-trained Rodrigo Diaz who will be targeted at this year’s Flemington feature.
Australian Bloodstock, who won the Cup in 2014 with another European-trained runner Protectionist, will race the four-year-old in tandem with Quantum Leap Racing who have retained the other 50 per cent share.
Rodrigo Diaz has won four of his ten starts and had too much ground to make up when a close second behind Scaramanga in the 2m Bahrain Series Handicap at Newbury last time, after which his rating rose to 96. He will remain in training with Simcock.
Announcing the deal Quantum Leap’s managing director Eamonn O’Connor said: “At a time when there is increasing concern about British racing becoming a nursery for the rest of the world, we are pleased to announce this innovative deal, allowing our syndicate to retain a 50% share of Rodrigo.
“The intention is to go to Melbourne, where the Racing Carnival is among the best in the world, before returning to the UK to target northern hemisphere Cup races in 2022. We hope Rodrigo Diaz can provide plenty of thrills for both our current syndicate owners and our new partners in both hemispheres.”
Connolly said Australian Bloodstock’s Jamie Lovett and Luke Murrell’s experience travelling European horses to Australia would be invaluable “especially in a year where so many Europeans have decided that the hurdles in getting to the Cup are insurmountable.”
Rodrigo Diaz does not yet meet the qualifying criteria for the Melbourne Cup but could improve his chances by running in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
Lovett, who bought All Star Mile winner Mugatoo from the Simcock stable, said: “We have long held a good opinion of Rodrigo Diaz. We feel he is the ideal type for the Lexus Melbourne Cup. We have a very high regard for his trainer David Simcock and his regular rider Jamie Spencer.”
Rodrigo Diaz is just the latest of a number of deals done involving European horses ahead of the Melbourne Spring Carnival, among them last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe fourth Gold Trip who is in the process of joining Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.
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