Godolphin ‘confident’ Blair House ends Cup Carnival in style

Blair House (IRE) ridden by James Doyle (GB) heads to the barriers before the Ladbrokes Stakes at Caulfield Racecourse on October 13, 2018 in Caulfield, Australia. (George Salpigtidis/Racing Photos)

GODOLPHIN’S head UK trainer Charlie Appleby has declared Blair House the horse to beat in this Saturday’s Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes.

Blair House, which is the $2.10 favourite at online bookmaker Ladbrokes for the Mackinnon Stakes, would round out a spectacular spring for Godolphin.

Godolphin ended a 30 year Melbourne Cup drought after Cross Counter claimed the race that stops a nation. Earlier in October Best Solution won the Caulfield Cup before Benbatl ran a brave second behind champion mare Winx in the Cox Plate.

Appleby believes Blair House is poised to add another Group 1 title to the stable heading into the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

“We are very confident. We’ve seen him work there this morning and he had a little blow out,” Appleby said.

“He came out of that last run well and we purposefully skipped the Cox Plate because we thought we couldn’t reverse the form with Benbatl let alone Winx so we gave that a swerve and thought we could go into the Mackinnon with some fresh legs.

“I feel they have got us to beat on Saturday.”

WATCH BELOW: Blair House runs second to stablemate Benbatl in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes

The day looms as a bittersweet affair for Godolphin as stable favourite Jungle Cat bids farewell to the competitive circuit in the Group 1 VRC Sprint.

The horse, which is a $13 hope in the VRC Sprint at online bookmaker Sportsbet, will stand at Kildangan Stud in Ireland following Saturday.

Appleby said Jungle Cat will be missed.

“He’s been a yard favourite. Obviously the highlight of his career was the Alquoz (Sprint in Dubai) and for him to come over here and win the Rupert Clarke (Stakes) was a great achievement for him.”

The Godolphin man admitted it will be tough to claim victory in his final race but said Jungle Cat won’t die wondering.

“He’s returning for a reason as he’s getting a bit older now. It’ll be tough for him but there’s one thing about him – he won’t lie down.”

Much more fancied in the market is Godolphin stablemate Kementari ($6.50 at BetEasy).

Prepared by Australia’s head honcho James Cummings, the trainer believes his horse comes into the Sprint as a strong hope following several luckless runs this preparation.

“He was very strong in the Manikato from a difficult position and has come on nicely since.

“The Coolmore winner Sunlight finished behind us in that race. He’s deep into his preparation, but he’s thriving and a win here would completely forgive him for a campaign that hasn’t gone his way.”