Oracle's even better than Mullins
Circumstances beyond the Jockey Club's control have conspired to see one of the foreign invitees for the Audemars Piguet QE II Cup already sidelined, but the club will end up with an even better contest on Sunday week.
Mike de Kock's Mullins Bay, a horse with a long history of leg trouble, came out of his training gallop on Sunday with an injury, but the trainer had some good news for the Jockey Club's international racing manager Mark Player when he rang.
'In these international races, it is inevitable that some horses won't make the field on race day, but I have to say it's the first time it has happened this way and I was just as happy at the end of Mike's call as at the start,' Player said after announcing that the De Kock-trained Oracle West will take the withdrawn horse's place.
'Usually, when someone rings to scratch it, that's it and it leaves you wondering where you'll get a replacement but Mike said straight up he would like to make the trip with Oracle West. His travel arrangements are exactly the same. It couldn't have worked out better.'
Even better news for the club is that Oracle West is rated a nine-point better horse than Mullins Bay on international standings and will bring some extra depth to the QE II Cup by his presence. Although not a winner during the Dubai carnival this year, he earned prize money in his three starts and finished with a career best second to Vengeance Of Rain in the Dubai Sheema Classic last time.
With Vengeance Of Rain and Admire Moon having frightened away many foreign possibles, De Kock will be one trainer not fazed by their presence and knowing Oracle West needs to find only another length to make it more competitive.
'Mike's very committed to racing internationally and of course is the defending champion in the QE II Cup after winning with Irridescence last year. He had expected to be here again with her this year but that hasn't worked out and he was still keen to have a runner,' Player added.