Melbourne Cup raid under consideration for Wicklow Brave

Goodwood Cup fourth Wicklow Brave is in the running for a trip to Australia and the Melbourne Cup.

Grade One placed over hurdles, the Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old was an excellent fourth to Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup last week, adding to other good efforts on the level that include third in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot back in October.

Owner Nick Peacock said: “Unfortunately he wasn’t quite as good as Big Orange, but he ran a blinder and acquitted himself well.

“We’ll see what the handicapper does. I think we’d like to go to the Melbourne Cup, but we’ll have to see what the handicapper does.

“He could probably do with going up by a couple of pounds. With his current rating he would be right on the edge of getting in, I think, and it would be a big risk to take him there, with the cost and everything else, if you’re not sure you’re going to get a run.

“Willie has mentioned the Lonsdale Cup as a possible next race for him and the Irish St Leger might be the last opportunity to run if he was going to go to Australia.”

Peacock also reported Arctic Fire to be in rude health as the Grade One-winning hurdler nears a return to training.

The seven-year-old enjoyed his best campaign to date last season, winning the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan and the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse to break his Grade One duck.

He disappointed when stepped up to three miles over Christmas, but chased home esteemed stable companion Faugheen in the Irish Champion Hurdle to set up a return to the Cheltenham Festival.

However, just days after Faugheen was ruled out of the two-mile showpiece, Arctic Fire was found to have chipped a bone in his leg and he too missed the rest of the season. Peacock said: “He appears to be in very good shape, thankfully.

“We’ll have to see what his legs are like when he starts working again, but I know he looks a million dollars at the moment and is bossing the other horses around in the paddock.

“He certainly doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort, so fingers crossed.”

Meanwhile, long-serving head girl Gail Carlisle is leaving Mullins’ yard to go to America.

Many illustrious names of the National Hunt scene have benefited from Carlisle’s experience and attention in recent years, not least when travelling to places like the Cheltenham Festival.

Carlisle is perhaps best known to racegoers as the groom to the great Hurricane Fly, who won a record 22 Grade Ones including the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown five times and the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham twice.

More recently she has been the groom and work rider of the brilliant Douvan, who is unbeaten in 10 starts since joining Mullins and won the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham, the Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree and the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown last spring.

Mullins said: “Gail has been a huge part of our team for about eight or 10 years.

“She has played a huge part in the careers of the likes of Hurricane Fly and Douvan, and will be missed.”

Before joining Mullins, Carlisle spent a year working for Coolmore Australia and has previously stated her intentions to travel again.


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