English stayer Illustrious Blue has been purchased by Australian agents with the aim of starting in the $6 million Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 2.
Hunter Valley-based Australian Bloodstock finalised the purchase of Illustrious Blue on Monday with 25 percent of the horse still for sale to Australian interests.
The accomplished winner of 10 races is currently 14th on the order of entry for the Melbourne Cup with Australian Bloodstock expecting the remaining shares in the horse to be taken up by the end of the week.
“The plan is for Illustrious Blue to arrive in Australia later this month and he will more than likely have a lead up run before the Melbourne Cup,” said Australian Bloodstock director Luke Murrell.
“He will go second up into the Melbourne Cup but the fact is he has the miles under his belt this campaign and it won’t be an issue fitness wise.”
Illustrious Blue will start in the Melbourne Cup for his current English trainer William Knight before he is transferred to Sydney trainer David Payne.
“After the Melbourne Cup the horse will be transferred to David Payne in Sydney and the aim will be to target Group 1 races next year in order to make him more appealing as a stud prospect,” Murrell said.
“He has excellent short course form and if he can win a Doncaster Handicap or Queen Elizabeth Stakes he is going to be a valuable prospect when he retires at stud.
“International races in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand are all options as well.”
Murrell said a panel of UK form experts were employed to review qualified international entries for the Melbourne Cup and they were unanimous that Illustrious Blue had an excellent profile for the race.
“He has a fine turn of foot, excellent race day and work day manners, he is a seasoned traveller having raced successfully in Dubai and Europe and importantly he is in career best form,” Murrell said.
“Our enquiries into his history confirmed that he has always been a sound horse and his racing pattern is going to be suited to our racing as he has a sustained turn of foot, critical for Group 1 racing in Australia
“He has a good record over a range of distances and importantly has a thundering finish in 2400 and 3000m races.”
Illustrious Blue, a 7YO entire by the acclaimed international sire Dansili, has raced 54 times and has won 10 races and placed 17 times, the majority of his starts being in Group or Group equivalent type races since he was a three-year-old.
This year he came back from a third Dubai campaign in February and March to win the G3 Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in April and the G2 Goodwood Cup on July 29 beating former Melbourne Cup runner-up Purple Moon into third place.
At his latest start he was beaten 1.9 lengths when fifth in the G2 Lonsdale Cup won by Opinion Poll at York on August 18.
“He has been racing in events that are well regarded as strong form lines leading into the Melbourne Cup,” Murrell said.
Murrell said last year’s Melbourne Cup runner-up Crime Scene had raced against Illustrious Blue on a number of occasions without success.
“On each occasion Illustrious Blue gave him a start and a beating,” Murrell said.
“Illustrious Blue has since gone to another level and if the Melbourne Cup is of equal strength to last year then he has to have a massive chance.”
Taken from Racing and Sports.