Mourilyan, the globe-trotting thoroughbred, went into quarantine last week ahead of his tilt at the Melbourne Cup before heading back to Dubai for the inaugural Meydan season. Currently in England, the five-year-old son of Desert Prince will have run in seven countries by the time he returns to Blue Stables in Nad al Sheba where he spends his winters.
His trainer, Herman Brown, who sends the horse to Gary Moore's yard in the UK during the UAE's summer months, will be re-united with the bay on October 10 when Mourilyan and stable companion Bankable arrive in Australia. "I've wanted to have a runner in Australia for a long time," said the South African trainer Brown. "We were invited to go with Jay Peg [the Dubai Duty Free and Singapore Airlines International Cup-winner in 2008] but he had a setback and had to have a knee operation and so was unable to go. But I've always had it in my mind to have a runner there."
The Melbourne Cup is considered Australia's premier flat contest. Northern hemisphere-trained-and-bred horses find it tough to win the race, with Dermot Weld the only one to do it in the last 20 years. The Irish trainer landed the race in 1998 with the gelding, Vintage Crop, and in 2002 with Media Puzzle. Since 1882, British-bred horses have won the race just five times, US-bred horses four while Weld's two successes account for the only two Irish winners.
Mourilyan, Irish-bred and Dubai-trained, is considered an outside chance for the two-mile race. The former inmate of the Aga Khan's stable came second in the Group Two Goodwood Cup at the Glorious meet over the same trip and followed up two runs later with a good win in the Windflower March Stakes over 1m6f. Mourilyan, who has had 18 starts and five wins in his career, and Bankable, will travel to Australia under the care of Brown's assistant trainer, Nicolas Iguacel. The route to Australia takes in two week's quarantine at Newmarket followed by a 24-hour flight to Melbourne, stopping at Copenhagen, Denmark and Singapore en route.
"This is the longest flight both horses have ever had, but they handle air freight really well," said Iguacel, who has travelled with Mourilyan to top-tier races before. "We will give them a day off and a few easy days when they arrive and then if everything has gone okay we will get them back into their usual training plans." Brown is confident that Mourilyan, owned by Ramzan Kadyrov, has a decent chance in the big race on November 3.
"Mourilyan has been given 54 kg which I think is a very fair weighting and he has been doing well in England so he has every chance of doing himself proud," said Brown. "We are also hoping that champion jockey, Ryan Moore, who knows the horse very well having partnered him in Dubai and England, will be free to ride." After their stint Down Under, Mourilyan and Bankable will return to Dubai where they will be joined in December by Brown's other runners, including the group Two Hardwicke Stakes winner, Bronze Cannon.