A first: The Aga Khan wants to add the Melbourne Cup to his trophies. Photo: Getty Images
After years of groundwork, Racing Victoria has announced that the Aga Khan, one of the most influential figures in European racing and breeding, will this year have his first runner in the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup.
Racing Victoria international recruiter Leigh Jordon confirmed that the Alain De Royer-Dupre-trained mare Verema, winner of the group 2 Prix Kergorlay - the race won by her former stablemate Americain before his Melbourne Cup triumph in 2010 - will make the trip to Australia.
''I've been hopeful that they would consider the Cup as an option for the mare and we can now confirm that it is her target race,'' Jordon said on Monday night.
''His Highness the Aga Khan is one of the most influential owners and breeders in the world, so we are delighted that he has decided to send his first runner to Australia this spring.''
Verema has won four of her 12 starts, including the 3000-metre Prix Kergorlay and the Prix Maurice de Nieuil over 2800 metres, showing a strong late sprint on both occasions.
The mare is quoted at $35 for the Melbourne Cup, which will be run on November 5.