Another Melbourne Cup Runner for Camelot
Last Saturday we saw the Aidan O’Brien trained Hunting Horn secure a start in the Melbourne Cup after winning the Group II MVRC Moonee Valley Gold Cup and the horse who finished third to him on that occasion Downdraft (5h Camelot x Cinnamon Rose, by Trempolino) has also secured a Cup start after winning the Group III VRC Hotham Handicap (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday, both classy stayers sired by Epsom Derby winner Camelot.
He might be bred in Ireland and trained by Joseph O’Brien, but Downdraft has plenty of Aussie owners as he runs for a syndicate put together by Terry Henderson’s OTI Racing.
Downdraft has been in good form this year winning two Listed stakes races in Ireland before finishing second in the Group III Irish Leger Trial and was a good third at his first Australian run last week beaten only a length and a half.
He went even better again on Saturday proving way too classy under his top weight of 59.5kg in scoring an length and a half win under John Allen.
“He’s confirmed his place in the Cup and hopefully he backs up,” said the winning rider.
Bought for 55,000 euros by his trainer at the Goff’s Yearling Sale, Downdraft has the overall record of seven wins and three placings from 18 starts and will carry just 53.5 kg in the Melbourne Cup after receiving no penalty for his victory.
His trainer certainly knows what is required to win a Melbourne Cup having taken home the prize in 2017 with Rekindling.
"We're really delighted. We've had this horse now for a couple of years,” said Terry Henderson.
“Joseph has been extremely patient with him. It's just a great thrill for all the owners and the stable to have another horse in the Cup - a horse that's got a real show.
“Joseph is at the Breeders’ Cup meeting in Los Angeles, but will fly back here on Monday.”
The Melbourne Cup will be the third run in 10 days for Downdraft, but connections are optimistic he is up to the task.
"They don't do this in Europe. I spoke to Joseph about it. If he had've said today to scratch then we would've scratched, but he said 'don't worry about that',” Henderson said
“He's not a particularly strong looking horse, but inside he's got plenty of determination so he was happy to run him. He was confident that if he ran well today then he could back-up.”
Downdraft is a half-brother to Group I winner Chelsea Rose (dam of Champion 3YO Stayer Kew Gardens) and stakes-winner European from terrific producer Cinnamon Rose that has left 10 winners from 12 to race.
He is one of 24 stakes-winners for Montjeu’s high class son Camelot, who at age 10 is emerging as a serious source of stayers and will have three runners in the Melbourne Cup with Latrobe joining Hunting Horn and Downdraft.