Mustajeer booked his ticket to the Lexus Melbourne Cup with victory in the Ebor at York on Saturday.
The six-year-old, trained in Ireland by Ger Lyons, was fourth behind Muntahaa in York’s summer showpiece 12 months ago and he returned to snatch glory in Europe’s richest Flat handicap.
Powerful syndicate Australian Bloodstock had taken a gamble buying into Mustajeer and it paid off in some order when the 16-1 shot held off Red Galileo, Desert Skyline and Raymond Tusk in the closing stages under jockey Colin Keane. Hollywoodbets paid five places on the race.
The total prizemoney for the Ebor had been upped to £1 million for the first time.
Having hit the jackpot in the 2,816m contest, Mustajeer now has two of Australia’s greatest races in his sights.
With £600,000 going to winning connections, jockey Colin Keane was revealed to be scooping a tidy £41,000 for guiding Mustajeer to the promised land.
As the 2017 Irish champion jockey lifted two bottles of champagne into the air in celebration of his success, he remained as humble as ever, giving thanks to his equine partner and Lyons.
He said: “It was a very good performance and it was all pretty smooth really – I gave him a squeeze when I needed to and he responded accordingly – but it’s a brilliant training performance by Ger
Mustajeer will go into quarantine next month before joining Newcastle trainer Kris Lees for a crack at the Caulfield Cup and the Lexus Melbourne Cup.
Lyons wasn’t at York to pick up the prize. After watching Mustajeer grind out victory he said: “Fantastic performance. I’m off to cut the grass.”
His daughter Kerri was left to oversee Mustajeer’s final Ebor preparations.
She said: “He was trained for this race so the fact he’s pulled it off is brilliant. That doesn’t normally happen in racing. A large percentage of him has been bought by Australian Bloodstock so that’s his last run for us. It was a nice way for him to sign off. He’s going down to Australia to join Kris Lees. Hopefully, it will be the Caulfield Cup and then the Melbourne Cup. That would be a dream come true.
Australian Bloodstock won the Melbourne Cup in 2014 with Protectionist.
They enjoyed success with another stayer at Randwick on Saturday when Our Candidate made it back-to-back wins after scoring in the Gold Coast Turf Club Benchmark 78 Handicap (2400m).