Big Opinion of spring prospect

Not only did Opinion secure his owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing a Royal Ascot win in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap (2400m), the progressive four-year-old also booked his ticket to Flemington and a shot at the 2013 Emirates Melbourne Cup.

His familiar light blue silks have twice been seen at the Spring Racing Carnival by Distinction, also trained by Sir Michael Stoute, who chased home ground-breaking mare Makybe Diva when finishing 6thin 2004 and then 19th 12 months later.

Highclere’s managing Director Harry Herbert has long been a huge fan of the Australian racing scene and wasted no time in nominating this year’s Melbourne Cup as the long-term target.

“I first started going to the Cup about 10 years ago and I don’t think I have missed a year since,” he said. “The race, the atmosphere and the people are all superb and hopefully we can end up out there with Opinion.

“Ryan Moore has given him the most fantastic ride to win here today and we could not be more thrilled with the more. He came on from his first run for the season at Newmarket and has appreciated the trip (2400 metres).

“We need to talk to Sir Michael about plans but the Ebor at York in August would be a possibility and we can then start thinking about travelling plans.”

Herbert’s syndicates have enjoyed enormous success in recent years with the Hardwicke Stakes and subsequent Group 1 winner Harbinger flying the flag for his prestigious syndicates.

One man to share in the Harbinger success story was Victoria Racing Club board member Peter Barnett and the man who has served on the VRC committee since 1999 is also involved in Opinion.

Herbert added: “We are thrilled to bits as having winners here at Royal Ascot is what we are all about.

“To be able to take a horse to Melbourne is the dream and we had such a fantastic experience when we took Distinction down there to chase home that fantastic mare that I have been wanting to have a runner down there ever since.

“They looked after the owners so wonderfully last time and it was a privilege to be involved in the race. I think Opinion ticks all of the boxes as to a Melbourne Cup horse and there could be more to come as he steps up in distance.”

Opinion, a four-year-old by Oasis Dream, has won four out of his 10 career starts and posted a two-length success to score on the final afternoon of Royal Ascot 2013.