Watch: Melbourne Cup bid likely for Willie Mullins’ Royal Ascot winner

Trainer Willie Mullins could have another live Melbourne Cup contender waiting in the wings, as Belloccio achieved the same feat as Vauban when taking the Copper Horse Handicap (2800m) on day one of Royal Ascot.

Stablemate Vauban was an impressive victor of the race twelve months ago and used that success as a springboard for a Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) bid the following November.

Although Belloccio ($6) may not have achieve the same visually impressive display in this year’s Copper Horse Handicap, he was forced to show a commendable turn of foot under William Buick, as Lmay ($41) attempted to steal the race from the front rounding the final bend.

The gelding stayed on for a 1¼-length victory, with Lmay in second and My Mate Mozzie ($13) in third.

It was a relief for trainer Willie Mullins to land his tenth winner at the meeting after disappointment earlier on the card.

“This fellow will probably go to the Ebor,” Mullins said with reference to the 2900-metre feature at York in late August where stablemate Absurde earned a golden ticket spot into Australia’s most famous race by winning the Ebor in 2023.

“He’s entered here on Saturday, but we won’t make any decisions about this weekend yet,” Mullins added.

“We’ll see how he comes out of this race, and I think the bigger picture may come into it.

“The long-term aim might be to qualify for the Melbourne Cup. We’ll see how things go and I’ll have another word with William.”

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