Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Change for Down Under

It is just as well that international relations on the Turf are not wholly contingent on the sort of inept literalists who disqualified the British filly, Dar Re Mi, at Longchamp on Sunday.

Instead the sport remains constantly enriched by the unfettered movement of horses and labour. So it was, for instance, that a teenage riding sensation from Japan could win a seller at Redcar yesterday; or that Changingoftheguard, after disappointing at Doncaster on Saturday, should become yet another colt exported from Ballydoyle.

At the weights, Changingoftheguard produced such a remarkable performance against older horses at York last month that the absence of proven Group One rivals made him a tempting choice for the Ladbrokes St Leger. But his failure to get competitive with the Godolphin pair, Mastery and Kite Wood, has now seen him swiftly banished to Australia.

The son of Montjeu has been sold to patrons of David Hayes, one of the top trainers in Australia. They hope to win a Melbourne Cup with a colt Hayes considers the most eligible he has ever found in this part of the world. Though he has been sold with an entry for this year, the chances are that Changingoftheguard will instead be campaigned with the 150th Cup in mind, in 2010.

As a maturing stayer, he must be counted still unexposed after just two starts beyond a mile and a half, so his departure from Ballydoyle is instructive of the extreme pragmatism being shown by the stable's owners at Coolmore Stud during the recession. Of the colts they ran in the Derby, they have already discarded Golden Sword to Mike de Kock, Masterofthehorse to Qatar, and Black Bear Island to the United States.

John Magnier and his partners will doubtless be spending with corresponding care at the big yearling sale at Keeneland this week, which got underway overnight. At the best of times, unlike the Maktoum brothers, they need to balance their books, and just at the moment they are clearly eager to cash in any horse who fails to convince them that it merits perseverance.

In the meantime, it seems that Aidan O'Brien may be unrepresented in Melbourne on November 3 for the first time since 2005. Age Of Aquarius is still in the race, but was scratched from the St Leger after pulling muscles in his back.

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