No Cox Plate for Neorealism (JPN)
She doesn't race again until Saturday's Group 1 George Main Stakes in Sydney but Winx's stranglehold on this year's Cox Plate tightened on Monday with confirmation one of her potential international rivals, Japanese star Neorealism (JPN), will not make the trip to Melbourne.
Racing Victoria's International Recruitment Officer Leigh Jordon said connections of Neorealism, an impressive winner of the Group 1 QEII Cup (2000m) in Hong Kong in April, had opted to keep the seven-year-old in Japan after a minor setback forced him to bypass his defence of the G2 Sapporo Kinen (2000m) last month.
"Neorealism isn't coming," Jordon said.
"He's just had a few niggling issues so his trainer (Noriyuki Hori) thought that it wasn't the right move to put him on the plane and go through quarantine.
"It's unfortunate because the connections were very keen to come to Melbourne."
While his Cox Plate dream is dashed for at least another year, Hori's hopes of a Melbourne Cup victory continue to build momentum with positive reports on talented stayer Albert.
The seven-year-old will contest the G2 All Comers Stakes (2200m) on September 24 before connections fully commit to a Melbourne Cup campaign but Jordon said he was confident the multiple G2 winner would appear Down Under this spring.
"He's probably going to run in a race called the All Comers Stakes, which is a Group 2 race over 2200m on September 24," he said.
"All discussions have been positive and I think that run is just to make sure that he's OK and fine to travel.
"The race is over 2200m which isn't really a suitable distance for him anyway so I think they just want to see him run well.
"Barring an injury or something going wrong, I think he's more an 80-20 chance of coming out."
Darren Weir has already taken over training Japan's other Cups contender, the Australian Bloodstock-owned Admire Deus, who will enter quarantine in Japan this week ahead of his arrival in Melbourne on Tuesday, September 26.
Jockey Craig Williams partnered the seven-year-old in a gallop on Monday and is believed to have first option to ride the son of Admire Don in the Melbourne Cup, as well as his lead-up race in either the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) or Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Neorealism (JPN) at Sha Tin, picture Liesl King