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Cox Plate hope Cape Blanco wins Arlington Million, exempt from Melbourne Cup ballot

August 14, 2011

Cape Blanco, a potential runner in this year’s Tatt’s Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley, ran out a dominant winner of the Group 1 Arlington Million (2000m) in Chicago this morning.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained galloper defeated America’s best turf horse Gio Ponti, with Dean’s Kitten in third.

French entry for the Cox Plate, Zack Hall, was well beaten.

A stable representative was cagey when pressed about future targets for the son of Galileo, but it is believed he will either target the Cox Plate on October 22 or the Breeders Cup Turf at Churchill Downs two weeks later.

As the winner of the Arlington Million, he also gains a ballot exempt position in the Melbourne Cup – however, a Melbourne Cup start is considered unlikely.

A decision on Cape Blanco will be made in the next month as he would need to enter quarantine by mid September.

However, it may all hinge on O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stables being approved by Australian quarantine officials.

He is $21 for the Cox Plate with TAB Sportsbet.

Star stablemate and dual Cox Plate winner So You Think is still among entries but is more likely to head to the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (2400m) in early October.

O’Brien is also believed to be considering two three year olds for a Melbourne Cup campaign, having previously had Mahler (3rd in 2007) and Alessandro Volta (20th in 2008) run at three.

Earlier on the card, Mike De Kock’s Cox Plate entry River Jetez ran a game third behind former European Stacelita.

De Kock has said she is highly unlikely to come to Melbourne.

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