31st August 2020 Le Don De Vie is Cups-bound

Andrew Eddy

Ozzie Kheir’s remarkable spring team just got a whole lot stronger with the owner confirming another likely Caulfield and Melbourne Cup starter in the form of UK galloper Le Don De Vie.

The Hughie Morrison-trained stayer strolled away for an easy win in the listed August Stakes (2300m) at Windsor on Saturday to confirm his spot on the plane to Melbourne in about four weeks for a shot at the feature Cups double.

Kheir’s spring hand is seemingly unrivaled. Along with Le Don De Vie, Kheir also part owns the likes of Cups-bound gallopers Verry Elleegant, Finche, as well as the Cox Plate-bound import Sir Dragonet and the super colt Tagaloa, who could also contest a Cox Plate after coming through the Caulfield Guineas.

‘’We thought he was about borderline (for a Caulfield and Melbourne Cup start) before last night but I think his rating will go up again,’’ Kheir said on Sunday morning.

‘’We were actually going to scratch him because he doesn’t like soft ground. I spoke to Hughie before the race and we thought that we’ll run him as we’ve got nothing to lose and if he doesn’t win we’ll miss out on the Caulfield Cup and go through another race to the Melbourne Cup, so we were pleasantly surprised that he won on that surface.

‘’He’ll (Morrison) freshen him up now and he thinks the horse is thriving and will keep improving and that there’s a lot more in the tank.

‘’There is a long way to go, but at the moment we’ve got a few horses heading towards the cups such as Finche, Verry Elleegant and now La Don De Vie with Sir Dragonet likely to go to the Cox Plate before the Melbourne Cup.

‘’Then there’s also Tagaloa, who might be a Cox Plate horse too.’’

Kheir went close to winning a Melbourne Cup with the 2018 runner-up Marmelo and said Le Don De Vie was purchased in the hope he too could get to Australia’s greatest race.

‘’We bought him about 12 months ago as a progressive horse,’’ he said.

‘’We bought him in the hope that he could be a sort of replacement for Marmelo but he had to qualify and he did that last start and now after last night, we’re pretty confident he can get into the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.’’

Kheir said Morrison would train the horse as he had arranged for a stable hand to come to Melbourne to serve quarantine two weeks before the horse is expected to arrive in the first few days of October.

Kheir said Le Don De Vie was introducing a number of people to horse racing.

‘’There are a lot of new owners in him,’’ he said. ‘’I am registered as the only owner in the UK but he has a lot of new owners when he comes out here.

‘’There are probably eight or nine people who have never had a horse before and that really makes it exciting.’’

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