Danceteria’s (Fr) (Redoute’s Choice) outstanding fourth behind Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) in the G1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown won’t change Australian Bloodstock’s plan to target a G1 Cox Plate with the French-trained galloper.

Jamie Lovett and Luke Murrell’s operation have been successful sourcing horses out of the international market for some years, famously winning the 2014 Melbourne Cup with the Andreas Wahler-trained Protectionist (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}).

They have honed their strategy somewhat is recent times and have tended to leave horses they purchased in Europe in their own environment for a time, rather than import them directly into Australia.

Protectionist after winning the 2014 Melbourne Cup

At the moment they have around seven horses in training in Europe, with Danceteria a good example of the new approach, being left with his original trainer David Menuisier to campaign during the peak European season.

Impressed by his narrow win in the Prix Jacques Lafitte at Maisons-Lafitte in April, where he defeated the highly rated Godolphin 4-year-old Mer Et Nuages (Fr) (Lope de Vega {Ire}), Australian Bloodstock purchased the son of Redoute’s Choice.

He then contested the G3 Brigadier Gerard S. at Sandown where he was third behind impressive winner Regal Reality (GB) (Intello {Ger}), before comfortably winning the G3 La Coupe at Longchamp.

Menuisier and the Australian Bloodstock team had been keen to target the Eclipse S. at Sandown as a race which might have not attracted the same strength of field as some of the other feature British races, but when it came onto Enable’s radar, and then Aidan O’Brien’s Magical (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) went down the same path, it suddenly looked a hard race.

“I was a bit sick to see the field pre-race I have to admit,” Murrell told TDN AusNZ. “With the big fascination with Ascot over there, on occasions in recent years, it’s been a race where you could get a soft one.”

“I was a bit sick to see the field pre-race I have to admit.” – Australian Bloodstock’s Luke Murrell

“When you are against horses of that calibre you don’t go there thinking you are finishing top two or anything. It was the obvious and most important lead-up for our later races, but I hate running in races where you are going to run for minor money.”

Danceteria warms up late

Under those circumstances, and with Murrell admitting the undulating surface at Sandown wasn’t in his favour, his run was enormous.

Danceteria looked very much the 50-1 outsider at the top of the straight, with Enable and Magical at the head of affairs some ten lengths in front of him. It wasn’t until the final furlong that he got going, powering home along the rail to finish only five lengths from the dual Arc winner and closing all the time.

“They probably don’t show it, but 75 metres past the post he was past them all,” Murrell said. “That was a pleasing thing for us and realistically it gives us two options if we don’t get an invite for a Cox Plate.”

“I was just pleased that when you are coming from a French Group 3, where he was sensational, you don’t think you measure up the best horses in Europe. So for him to get that close in the last 50-100m, that was the thing we were doing cartwheels over.”

Aims remain unchanged

The Cox Plate is very much still his No.1 aim, although his hard finish over the undulating 10 furlongs at Sandown does suggest he would appreciate a step to 2400m.

“We could go to America or even a Caulfield Cup,” Murrell said. “But on the flip side, if you look at his pedigree, he is closely related to Lope de Vega and is by Redoute’s Choice, as we know they don’t tend to get 2400m, David, the trainer, is of the opinion he’ll run 12 furlongs on his ear, but we’ve had a goal to get him into a Cox Plate.”

“David, the trainer, is of the opinion he’ll run 12 furlongs on his ear, but we’ve had a goal to get him into a Cox Plate.” – Luke Murrell

He will have one more race in Germany before heading to Australia, with Murrell admitting his long stride and the tight Moonee Valley circuit are not an ideal combination.

“It does worry me. But I’m pretty sure they won’t move the race for us. If it comes to that, we’ve also got the Mackinnon S. as well. That’s realistically his race, with a big track.”

Australian Bloodstock also expects to be represented in Great Britain in the next week by Mugatwo(Ire) (Henrythenavigator {USA}), who is trained by David Simcock and shows considerable promise.

A winner up to 2900m, he too is expected to arrive in Australia in time for the spring.

Australian Bloodstock’s Luke Murrell

Mare gets Attention

Already in Australia and already a winner is the German mare Attention Run (Ger) (Hurricane Run {Ire}), who delivered an upset victory at her first start for trainer Kris Lees at Randwick over 1600m on Saturday.

The victory even surprised her owners, with Murrell admitting she had struggled to adapt since coming to Australia last year and that he felt she might take a preparation of find her feet.

“She has taken a long time to get to this stage. Realistically, she is probably another prep away. She probably lost 60kgs from her racing weight over there,” he said.

“It’s just taken forever to get her going. I was thinking she’d need this prep, but it was a great bonus to win one so early on with her.”

Attention Run winning at Randwick

Murrell and Lovett are known to be astute readers of European form and data and Attention Run’s win over Schabau (Ger) (Pastorius {Ger}), who came to Australia and won three races impressively before injuring a tendon earlier this year, at Cologne in June last year measured up well.

“She gave him weight and beat him easily. I watched with fascination how Schabau went down here and knowing we had him covered. I was always desperate to see what she would do, but I didn’t think she’d do that first-up, I’ve got to admit,” he said.

Murrell said Attention Run would most likely be targeted towards the Listed Gosford Cup and the G3 Newcastle Cup this preparations but that she had scope to step up further at subsequent preparations.

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