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Aquis, Qatar join forces for shot at Melbourne Cup

3 min read

Aquis Farm and Qatar Racing have joined forces with Chris Waller in order to try and win this year's G1 Melbourne Cup.

Aquis have bought into Cup-bound stayer Count Octave (GB) (Frankel {GB}), with Waller to take control of the 5-year-old's preparation when he arrives in Australia in October.

Previously trained by Andrew Balding, Count Octave was last seen when second behind superstar stayer Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) in the G2 Lonsdale Cup at York in August.

For Aquis, it is a significant step into the staying market with a view to the horse racing on towards The Championships in the autumn and then possibly back to Royal Ascot next year.

"It's an exciting partnership, we already have association with them already with Sunlight, so speaking to David Redvers last night, they are excited about the horse," Aquis CEO Shane McGrath told Sky Sports Radio.

"We've been looking for a horse for some time to race and obviously we’ve got a great association with the Waller camp as well," Aquis CEO Shane McGrath.

"He's got great form around all the good staying horses. Primarily around Stradivarius. He's effective on top of the ground and loves running a trip,"

"He's got 54.5kg off a rating of 112, so he seems the right profile. We've been looking for a horse for some time to race and obviously we’ve got a great association with the Waller camp as well, so it's an exciting opportunity," he said.

Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and his wife Lady Webber have also bought into the horse ahead of his tilt at the Melbourne Cup.

Qatar Racing's Sheikh Fahad has already tasted success in Australia's most famous race with Dunaden (Fr) (Nicobar {GB}) winning the race back in 2011.

"The first Tuesday in November is what everyone is talking about." - Shane McGrath

Waller's involvement is significant as he looks for his first win in the Melbourne Cup.

"Chris Waller is the master with these older horses and he was a horse who had been high on his list for a while, so all the dots line-up and it's great to have him," he said.

"Chris is keen to have some horses for an international campaign as well. He (Count Octave) was highly competitive at Royal Ascot last year so he's possibly a horse for The BMW in the autumn and then head back to Royal Ascot."

"That's a big attraction for the Fung family, we’ve got some of our major partners racing the horse with us."

Count Octave is currently 41st in the entry order for the Melbourne Cup with 54.5kg but having talked to Racing Victoria's Greg Carpenter ahead of the purchase of Count Octave, McGrath is confident the import will get a run and be Aquis' second-ever Cup runner, after Grey Lion (Galileo {Ire}) in 2016,

"The first Tuesday in November is what everyone is talking about," he said.