HUNTER syndicators Australian Bloodstock scored an early win on Melbourne Cup day when the Chris Waller-trained Shraaoh blitzed his rivals in the 2800-metre Ronald McDonald House Charities Plate at Flemington.
The Irish-bred gelding, which was a last-start winner in England, won by 1 ¾ lengths in his first Australian start.
Australian Bloodstock, which also had Doukhan in the race, have Red Cardinal in the Melbourne Cup, which they won in 2014 with Protectionist.
Australian Bloodstock director Luke Murrell said before the race that Shraaoh was a potential Melbourne Cup 2019 horse and Waller was excited about the six-year-old gelding’s prospects.
“It’s been an interesting exercise because he’s been here about six weeks,” Waller said.
“There’s been plenty of information flowing from over there, which has been good. That’s been a big help in training the horse.
“I was tempted to trial him and they said, ‘Do not trial this horse. He’s ready.’ So I backed their judgement and our staff and skill to make sure the horse is fit.
“It’s a true testament to the English staying ability.
“It’s a great thrill to win a race on Melbourne Cup day and I don’t think it will be this fella’s last day. Maybe he’s here in his own right this time next year.”
AAP: Shraaoh endured a tough trip from England with a plane-full of other international hopefuls for Melbourne's spring carnival.
The flight was delayed almost 24 hours due a cracked windscreen in Sharjah which stretched the trip from Newmarket to Werribee's quarantine centre to almost 60 hours.
After finishing his quarantine stint, Shraaoh was shipped to Waller's Flemington stable where he continued to be worked with Tuesday's race in mind.
"He kept eating, doing well and doing the basic work," Waller said.
"We've just done basic ground work with him, similar to what we do with our stayers as he came over here very fit.
"It's been an interesting exercise.
"I said to the owners we should trial him but they said don't dare trial him.
"I had a chuckle to myself when he went to the front thinking he's got to be fit to hang on.
"It's given me great appreciation of the European stayers how fit they actually are and how we don't have to interfere too much in this late stage."
Waller said he's unlikely to press on to the Sandown meeting on November 17, preferring a break and setting him for next year's Sydney Cup.
"He could be back here next year," Waller said in reference to the Melbourne Cup.
"We won't have to over-race him."