‘We’re going to put him in’: King Charles’ horse primed for this year’s Melbourne Cup

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King Charles III could follow in the footsteps of his mother Queen Elizabeth II and have a runner in this year’s Melbourne Cup, with trainer William Haggas confirming that Desert Hero is set to come to Flemington in November.

Desert Hero won the George V Handicap at Royal Ascot and the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood this year, which will have him high enough on the Melbourne Cup order of entry to guarantee a run on the first Tuesday in November.

King Charles and Queen Camilla with Desert Hero after his win at Royal Ascot in June.Credit: Getty

Haggas, who has trained three out of the past four Queen Elizabeth Stakes winners at Randwick, put the Melbourne Cup on the agenda in a Racing Post interview on Saturday.

“I think Desert Hero is pretty good and he stays well, so we’re going to put him in the Melbourne Cup. That could be different, couldn’t it?” Haggas said.

“Two northern hemisphere three-year-olds [Rekindling and Cross Counter] have won the Melbourne Cup and it’s a genuine entry.”

Victoria Racing Club chairman Neil Wilson welcomed the news of the royal entry on Saturday.

“The VRC is thrilled to learn Desert Hero will be nominated for the Lexus Melbourne Cup for their Majesties the King and Queen. The Cup is globally recognised and one of the most sought-after prizes in racing and Desert Hero adds another layer of interest,” Wilson said.

“Their Majesties last attended the Cup in 2012 and would be warmly welcomed back to Flemington this year which would add to the anticipation and magic of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.”

The three-year-old was bred by the late Queen and after his wins at two of the major meetings in the English summer, he has been made a $6 chance for the final classic of the English season next month, the St Leger, which will be his next start.

The royal silks have been seen before in the Melbourne Cup when Arabian Story ran sixth to Might And Power in 1997.

Haggas is well advanced in his planning for Desert Hero to be at the Melbourne Cup at Flemington, which would be his only run in Australia.

Queen Elizabeth II’s horse Arabian Story ran in the 1997 Melbourne Cup.Credit: Racing Post

“He wouldn’t run in a prep race in Australia and he would need to enter quarantine pretty quickly after the Leger. My team are great at quarantine, though, as we’ve done it a lot with Sydney,” he said.

“Australia has become a big thing for us. I think about it all the time but then I’m always thinking where all the horses are going to run.”

Haggas added that My Prospero had already passed the initial Racing Victoria vet checks with an eye towards the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate.

“[Queen Elizabeth winner] Dubai Honour is already inked in to go back to Sydney next year but we need two or three horses to go with him. Before then I’ve put My Prospero in the Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup and he has passed the preliminary veterinary inspections from Racing Victoria.”

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