“If the owner’s up for it, we’re up for it,” said trainer William Haggas PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Haggas eyes Cox Plate for Master Of Hounds
MASTER OF HOUNDS could bid to become the first British-trained winner of the Group 1 Cox Plate, Australia’s premier weight-for-age contest, with trainer William Haggas keen on sending his runner to Moonee Valley on October 27.
Owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, Master Of Hounds has not run for Haggas since being transferred to the Newmarket trainer from Mike de Kock earlier this year but he could head to York next week for the Strensall Stakes if the green light is given for Australia.
However, Master Of Hounds, who was last seen finishing eighth in the Dubai World Cup, has an alternative option of running at the valuable Bosphorus Cup meeting in Turkey at the end of next month.
Speaking on Australia’s Sky Racing Radio, Haggas said: “He didn’t really run his race in the World Cup but he’s had a nice break and his work is super at the moment. Really it’s only in the last two weeks that I’ve thought that we should be considering Australia. I’ve put it to the owner and his team and they are considering it now.
“He’s a very good horse. If the owner’s up for it, we’re up for it. I like the horse very much. His record of two wins in 14 starts is not that impressive but we have a few smart horses here and he’s as every bit as good as them.
“We have an option of going to Turkey for a very valuable Group 2 race in early September. Sadly he can’t run in Turkey and Australia so it will be one or the other and the decision will be made in the next week.
“If he doesn’t go to Turkey he’ll go to York as he needs a race before he comes your way. He’ll have an 8lb penalty in [the Strensall Stakes] and he’ll run a very good race without being good enough I suspect.”
Master Of Hounds could be joined in the Cox Plate by the Marco Botti-trained Crackerjack King, who puts his credentials on show in the Arlington Million in Chicago at the weekend.
Darren Dance, representing part-owners Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock, told Sky Racing Radio: “Crackerjack King has one run for Marco in the UK on a very wet track which clearly he wasn’t suited by and given the weather over there we had a plan going back two months to go over to Arlington for the Million.
“He’s had the ideal lead up and it’s the ideal test for the horse to find out whether he’s going to be up to a race like the Cox Plate given the strength we’re expecting this year.
“We think he’s performing well and Marco is extremely happy with the way he’s training. It’s his first overseas trip and he’s travelled brilliantly, eaten up and his first little piece of work over there was outstanding.”