Hill facing Melbourne trial

Collier Hill will line-up for tomorrow’s Irish Field St Leger with trainer Alan Swinbank hoping to use the race as a springboard to the Emirates Melbourne Cup on November 1.

Collier Hill will line-up for tomorrow’s Irish Field St Leger with trainer Alan Swinbank hoping to use the race as a springboard to the Emirates Melbourne Cup on November 1.

A good performance in the Curragh Classic would see the seven-year-old go into quarantine on Monday ahead of the Australian race, although a below-par effort may see the whole expedition scrapped.

“The race is a tough call. We’re going there with Collier Hill to see how we fare with Vinnie Roe as regards going for the Melbourne Cup,” said the Richmond trainer.

“If he runs well he’ll go into quarantine for Melbourne on Monday.

“We couldn’t do the Caulfield Cup as well as the Melbourne Cup as he would have had to be in quarantine already.

“If he disappoints on Saturday and we decide to scrap the Australian trip then there’s a Group Two race for him in Cologne.”

Collier Hill travelled to Ireland on Wednesday and cantered round the Curragh yesterday morning, having been off the track since finishing second in a Group One race in Germany two months ago.

Swinbank’s charge had plied his trade in Dubai earlier in the year, landing a valuable handicap and also finishing third to Phoenix Reach in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

“He’s very, very well. He’s in as good a form as he was before the Sheema Classic,” added Swinbank. “We don’t want a lot of rain though.”

Swinbank won’t be on hand to witness the run of Collier Hill, who is a best priced 12-1 chance.

He said: “We’ve got runners at three meetings and I’m going to Catterick. My assistant Bill Haigh will be in Ireland and Roddy Lappin is representing me at Ayr.”

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