Sir Michael Stoute’s Exosphere has been sold to continue his career in Australia with the Emirates Melbourne Cup a likely target.
The four-year-old, winner of the Jockey Club Stakes earlier this season, is currently favourite for the Caulfield Cup and has been bought to run in that before going for glory at Flemington, for which he has been allocated a weight of 55kg (8st 9lb).
He has been purchased by a syndicate with the aim of competing in Asia and Dubai in the future and the same owner has also agreed a deal to send three mares to be covered by Frankel to southern hemisphere time
Melbourne businessman Ozzie Kheir, a member of the syndicate, told www.g1x.com.au: “The team has worked hard to get this deal done and grow that relationship with Juddmonte.
“I am so excited to have a horse like Exosphere as well as the three mares in foal to Frankel, one of the all time greats.
“The idea was to buy a horse to win the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup, and then train on to run at the Hong Kong International meeting and hopefully earn an invitation to the Japan Cup. We bought him to run in the best races around the world.
“He’s had excuses in three runs since that (Newmarket) win, but his times say that he’s a high class horse. We left no stone unturned to make sure he was a prospect worth buying.”
He will be trained by Lee and Anthony Freedman but as an Australian horse of the same name has only recently retired, Exosphere will need to be renamed.
Weights for the Melbourne Cup were announced on Tuesday morning and Order Of St George has been given joint top weight of 58kg (9st 2lb).
Aidan O’Brien’s charge suffered a shock reverse in the Irish St Leger last Sunday, but has still heads the weights with Andreas Wohler’s 2014 Cup hero Proctectionist.
Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter admits the European-trained pair have been set a stiff task if they line up in the Group One.
He told www.racing.com: “There have been 23 original topweights contest the Melbourne Cup since Comic Court’s win in 1950 and none have placed, so Order Of St George and Protectionist would rightly earn their place among the Cup’s true greats if they were to be successful.
“The handicap presents a challenge to both Order Of St George and Protectionist, however, they have earned their position at the head of the weights based on their performances over the past 12 months.”
Willie Mullins’ Wicklow Brave was the horse to inflict defeat on Order Of St George at the Curragh and he is also in the Melbourne Cup reckoning after being given 55kg (8st 9lb) for the two-mile Group One.
Michael Bell’s Big Orange and the French-trained Erupt both sit on 56kg (8st 11lb) with Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby’s Scottish on 54.5kg (8st 8lb), while Ed Dunlop’s Trip To Paris, who finished fourth in the Melbourne Cup last year, is on 54kg (8st 7lb).
O’Brien’s Great Voltigeur Stakes winner Idaho has been given 53kg (8st 5lb) following his St Leger mishap, with Doncaster third Housesofparliament allotted 50kg (7st 12lb).
Defending champion Prince Of Penzance has been allocated 56.5kg (8st 13lb) as he bids for back-to-back successes.