Hounds team ponder Aussie bid
Haggas horse could head for big prizes
Last Updated: August 15, 2012 12:44pm
Haggas: Melbourne consideration
Connections of Master Of Hounds will make a decision on a possible trip to Australia in the next few days.
Now trained by William Haggas, the four-year-old was Group One placed for Aidan O'Brien in 2011 before being sold to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum.
Master Of Hounds then transferred to South African trainer Mike de Kock but failed to sparkle in the Dubai World Cup after winning the Group One Jebel Hatta at Meydan in March.
Switched to Haggas' care in Newmarket, the Kingmambo colt is now set to return from a break with some lofty targets, including the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 27, in his sights.
"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. He's a thoroughly nice, genuine horse," Haggas told Sky Racing Radio.
"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.
"We have an option of going to Turkey for a very valuable Group Two race in early September.
"Sadly he can't run in Turkey and then go to 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 here before he goes to Australia.
"He'll have an 8lb penalty in (the Strensall Stakes) and he'll run a very good race and not win I suspect.
"He's a very adaptable horse, he's just the type really."
While Haggas is reasonably positive about the prospect of Master Of Hounds running in Australia, another possible antipodean raider is less likely to make the trip.
Beaten Up was considered another possible Cup contender Down Under, but a crack at the Melbourne feature in November looks doubtful after a disappointing season so far.
Haggas said: "Half of him was sold to Bruce Mathieson and Rick Smith last autumn and he's gone in reverse since they bought him, which is a pity as he's a very smart horse if I can get him right.
"He's only had five starts. He won his first three and then we ran him in Dubai in the Sheema Classic and finished fifth and then he ran in the Coronation Cup and finished fifth again.
"He was disappointing in both races and we think we know why and we've tried to fix it and we're onwards and upwards from here.
"The quarantine starts here on September 13 so I have to make a decision in the next fortnight, in conjunction with Bruce and Rick, as to whether we stay here this autumn, get him back on track and prepare him for next year.
"I think it's very hard for young four-year-olds to come to Australia and do well.
"The important thing is to have him in top shape in my opinion and sadly, at the moment, I don't have him in top shape.
"Unless there's a radical U-turn in the next few weeks, he won't be coming this year but we will see how we go."Atlantic Jewel, who is co-owned by the Coolmore team, was a likely favourite for the Cox Plate but she has been ruled out with a tendon problem.
The unbeaten four-year-old, trained by Mark Kavanagh, is now likely to be sidelined until next year.
Regular rider Michael Rodd tweeted: "Still hard 2 believe that AJ is out for the spring, was really looking forward 2 showing what she can do.
"FingersX on a full & speedy recov. "