THE colours of Australian Bloodstock flew high on Melbourne Cup day with new addition Shraaoh to raise hopes of success in the big one next year.
The Hunter syndication company were disappointed when Red Cardinal finished 23rd in the Cup, but earlier the Chris Waller-trained Shraaoh blitzed his rivals in the 2800-metre Ronald McDonald House Charities Plate at Flemington to give them success at the meeting.
The Irish-bred six-year-old gelding, which was a last-start winner in England, won by 1 ¾ lengths in his first Australian run. Kerrin McEvoy, who later rode Cross Counter to victory in the Cup, steered Shraaoh to the win.
Australian Bloodstock director Luke Murrell said before the race that Shraaoh was a potential Melbourne Cup 2019 horse and the strong victory on Tuesday backed up his prediction.
“Yeah, definitely,” Murrell said of Shraaoh’s strong prospects for next year.
“We've got a heap of nice horses there. It will be all right, it's just disappointing on the day,” he said in reference to Red Cardinal’s result.
Waller was excited about Shraaoh’s future.
“It’s been an interesting exercise because he’s been here about six weeks,” Waller said. “There’s been plenty of information flowing from over there, which has been good. That’s been a big help in training the horse.
“I was tempted to trial him and they said, ‘Do not trial this horse. He’s ready.’ So I backed their judgement and our staff and skill to make sure the horse is fit.
“I had a chuckle to myself when he went to the front thinking he’s got to be fit to hang on.
“It’s given me great appreciation of the European stayers how fit they actually are and how we don’t have to interfere too much in this late stage.”
“It’s a great thrill to win a race on Melbourne Cup day and I don’t think it will be this fella’s last day. Maybe he’s here in his own right this time next year.”
Shraaoh also had to overcome a delayed flight to Australia to prepare for the race. The trip from Newmarket to Werribee's quarantine centre took almost 60 hours because of a cracked windscreen in Sharjah.
“He kept eating, doing well and doing the basic work,” Waller said.
"We've just done basic ground work with him, similar to what we do with our stayers as he came over here very fit.”
Waller said Shraaoh was unlikely to press on to the Sandown meeting on November 17 and he preferred a break to set him for next year's Sydney Cup.
Doukhan was sixth for Australian Bloodstock and Newcastle trainer Kris Lees in the same race on Tuesday.
The combination went close to victory in the last with Princess Posh, which made up ground late down the inside to finish a head second to Cool Passion in the group 3 Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes (1400m).
At Randwick, Newcastle jockey Blake Spriggs, who rode Sir John Hawkwood in the 2016 Melbourne Cup, won on the John Thompson-trained Vinnie Power.