Aspetar all set for long-haul odyssey

Cox Plate adventure ahead for Charlton’s charge.

  • Monday 21 September
  • News
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Roger Charlton believes Aspetar has the right constitution to handle a gruelling round-the-world trip as he seeks to strike gold in the 100th running of the Ladbrokes Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

The gelded son of Al Kazeem, who is currently in quarantine in Newmarket, will bid to claim victory in the valuable Group One prize, won by Winx on four occasions between 2015 and 2018, on October 24.

With only one plane of horses heading to Australia from Europe this year for the Melbourne Spring Carnival, it has resulted in extra stops being added to the usual route.

While this will be the longest journey Aspetar – last sighted winning the Group Two York Stakes in July – has faced racing abroad, Charlton feels his trip to Hong Kong at the end of last year will help him handle it.

Charlton said: “Aspetar is in quarantine in Newmarket until Wednesday week – then he has a long journey.

“From Stansted, they stop at Shannon to pick up the Irish horses (and) then go to the Middle East before going to Singapore and then on to Australia.

“It is a tough flight, and they are not allowed off the plane, so let’s hope he takes the travelling well.

“He travelled to Hong Kong last year, though, and he seemed okay doing that – but we won’t know for sure until nearer the time of the race.”

Helping give Charlton the encouragement to convince owner, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani, to send Aspetar on his travels was his son Tom – who is currently working in Australia for John O’Shea.

He added: “It came onto the radar as the season progressed, mainly through plenty of encouragement from my son Tom – who is out there.

“He knows the form of the local horses, and there are no horses coming from Japan this year.

“This is the sort of horse to do it with, because he is a tough gelding and the sharp track at Moonee Valley should suit him. He is not without a chance.”

Although Aspetar was forced to miss an intended outing in last month’s Juddmonte International at York with a blood analysis problem, Charlton believes it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

He added: “Missing York was not a frustrating thing. (But) if we ran there he would have been running for third or fourth against a horse like Ghaiyyath, and all those other good horses, so we would have been playing for places.

“In hindsight, it was probably a good thing – because it has given him that bit extra time off ahead of this.”

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