COX PLATE might be first race off the flight for Gold Trip, but Australian Bloodstock director Luke Murrell feels the French import has more to offer at group 1 level.
The four-year-old stallion landed on the weekend and has a fortnight of quarantine in Victoria before contesting the famed weight-for-age feature at Moonee Valley on October 23.
Hunter-based ownership syndicator Murrell says the intention for Gold Trip was to stay in Australia beyond the spring carnival and challenge some of the best horses in the business.
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"There might be a bit of room at that top echelon of group 1 runners," Murrell told the Newcastle Herald.
"We're hoping he can stay here and be part of that next wave of really good horses coming through, challenging your Zaaki and Incentivise and the like."
Murrell hosed down reports Gold Trip hadn't travelled well, but admitted some "muscle soreness over the back" which "isn't unusual" after such a long-haul flight.
Gold Trip, being trained by Ciaron Maher, was picked up by Australian Bloodstock in July after missing out previously.
The group 2 winner, only one point below Zaaki in the ratings, was sixth favourite ($13) for the Cox Plate via TAB fixed odds on Wednesday.
"I haven't changed my opinion of him, I still think he's a winning chance. We've just got to get there now," Murrell said.
Murrell said a Melbourne Cup, McKinnon Stakes or spell could follow Gold Trip's first-up run.
In the meantime Murrell says he's "genuinely excited" about the prospect of Australian Bloodstock's Edit contesting the $1.3 million Kosciuszko at Randwick on October 16 following a blistering last-to-first effort at Tamworth on Monday.
Mo's Crown is now out injured.
Scone had a fourth trainer earn a slot on Wednesday with Brett Cavanough, who prepared last year's winner It's Me, getting the nod courtesy of Patino Ruby. Rodney Northam (Spiranac), Stephen Jones (Nadaraja) and Cameron Crockett (Mr Hussill) are the others already in the country feature.
Elsewhere, Newcastle trainer Kris Lees looks set to get a run in the group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday with first emergency Luncies poised to pounce from barrier two following the scratchings of Chris Waller pair Shared Ambition and Kukeracha.
Waller has entered this month's Newcastle Cup winner Great House in the $750,000 feature with jockey Jeff Penza on board again.
Sky Lab, prepared by fellow Novocastrian Paul Perry, has a start in the group 1 Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Wednesday saw Lees-trained Daysan unable to make it three straight wins after finishing sixth in the Heineken Handicap (2400m) at Kensington.
Also, Broadmeadow-based Nathan Doyle has now secured a position in the $700,000 Four Pillars Midway (1500m) at Rosehill on October 30.
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