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France targets Cox Plate while Hong Kong looks to Coolmore Stud Stakes

June 16, 2011

French trainer Alain de Royer Dupre is likely to follow his successful first tilt at last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival with an ambitious assault on two of Australia’s most prestigious races.

The wily horseman is to bring two horses for the Cox Plate on October 23.

Tucuman, owned by the same connections as last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Americain, won his second race from four starts impressively at Chantilly last night.

The three year old won the Listed Prix Ridgway over 1m 2f (2000m).

Part-owner of both Tucuman and Americain Gerry Ryan told Sky Sports Radio’s Andrew Bensley that both horses will be aimed at the Cox Plate.

As revealed last month by The Thoroughbred’s Danny Power, Americain is likely to contest the Cox Plate on the way to a defence of his Melbourne Cup crown.

Connections are concerned the track at Caulfield does not suit the Dynaformer stallion, therefore ruling out the Caulfield Cup.

Meanwhile, the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on Victoria Derby Day could have its first international runner in Hong Kong’s Bear Hero.

The star two year old became the first griffin since 2004 to tackle the older horses and emerge victorious.

Trainer David Ferraris told the South China Morning Post that the Magic Millions graduate would return to Australia to tackle the feature sprint for three year olds.

“It’s a Group One and, if he could win something like that he would have stallion potential and it actually makes sense to look at a goal like that.”

“He’s probably got one more win here and he will be in Class Two against some tough older horses – there he will be racing his own age, which young horses don’t get to do here.”

“I think he’s got the ideal temperament to travel him and we are going to look very closely at the idea.”

The Coolmore Stud Stakes has quickly become one of the hottest races of the carnival.

Last year, Royal Ascot placegetter Star Witness won easily, while the 2009 edition saw Golden Slipper runner up Headway defeat Group 1 winners Shellscrape, Irish Lights, Wanted and Phelan Ready, as well as the Group 1 performed King Pulse, Tickets and Love Conquers All.

The race had international representation in 2002, when the race was run in September – however, in its current format, it has not had an international runner.

Fellow Hong Kong trainer John Moore is expected to bring a team for the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup, while Singapore superstar Rocket Man is being courted for the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m).

With the usual European influx for the Cups expected once more, there may be a very strong international flavour to this year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival.

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