Racing: Xtension accepts invitation to Cox Plate

James McDonald's career appears headed skyward as he celebrates winning the BMW Champions Mile at Sha Tin on Sunday. Photo / Hong Kong Jockey Club
James McDonald's career appears headed skyward as he celebrates winning the BMW Champions Mile at Sha Tin on Sunday. Photo / Hong Kong Jockey Club

Connections of Hong Kong group one winner Xtension have accepted a Cox Plate invitation from Moonee Valley Racing Club.

The audacious move by the club to issue invitations to 10 of the world's best horses has drawn an immediate response.

John Moore, trainer of Xtension, winner of the Champions Mile at Sha Tin in April in the hands of Kiwi jockey James McDonald, told Racing Victoria international scout Leigh Jordon the Cox Plate was the horse's spring mission.

"John has told me he is definitely coming," Jordon said.

"Rulership is another who is seriously being considered for the Cox Plate."

Rulership, a winner of the 2000m Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin in April, is trained by Katsuhiko Sumii, who provided the 2006 Melbourne Cup quinella with Delta Blues and Pop Rock.

The manager of Planteur, a French group one winner and Dubai World Cup third, told Jordon the Cox Plate would be considered.

"The jewel in the crown to get would be Cirrus Des Aigles," Jordon told the Herald Sun.

Cirrus Des Aigles, trained in France by Corine Barande-Barbe, defeated dual Cox Plate winner So You Think in the 2000m British Champion Stakes at Ascot in October. "Barande-Barbe came back straight away, thanked us for the invite, but raised concerns about the quarantine," Jordon said.

Connections of Japanese Derby winner Deep Brillante declined the invitation.

* In more international news, Black Caviar never ceases to amaze Peter Moody, and the Caulfield trainer could not believe how well the mare handled her marathon trip to England.

So well did Black Caviar take her 30-hour, stable-to-stable trip that she dropped just 9kg from her hulking 580kg frame.

The unbeaten mare, who is scheduled to run in the 1200m Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday week, was feeling so full of herself yesterday that a planned hand walk was upgraded to a long trot.

"That's great news," Moody, who leaves tomorrow for Newmarket, told the Herald Sun.

"Tony Haydon [stable foreman] and Peter Angus [veterinarian] are both thrilled with how she has travelled, and her food and water intake since she got there has been terrific.

"Tony said he couldn't believe how well she got off the plane in Heathrow and he said the last couple of hours by float to Newmarket took more out of her. She's been walking around the stable as if she's been there all her life."

Moody said Black Caviar had coped with the trip so well she had not needed any intravenous fluids.

Haydon and Angus considered she was in as good a condition as before she left.

Moody said the mare had put her head straight in her feed bin when she arrived in her Newmarket box.

Moody said it was likely Black Caviar would have her sole hitout before the Diamond Jubilee on Monday or Tuesday next week.

All the positive news from the Black Caviar camp has resulted in British bookmakers reeling in her odds. William Hill is offering $1.50 and most other outlets are fluctuating between $1.45 and $1.40.

TAB Sportsbet is offering $1.30 on Black Caviar, her best odds since she started $1.90 in the 2010 Patinack Farm Classic 13 starts ago.

There has been such interest in Black Caviar and so many requests for interviews with Moody that Royal Ascot has allocated three conferences where the trainer will be available.

- NZ Herald

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