Commissioned to skip plate for cup targets
Royal Ascot winner Commissioned was a notable absentee from the acceptors for Saturday's Northumberland Plate at Newcastle as Gordon Elliott's charge has the Melbourne Cup as his primary target.
Part of the Bloomfields dispersal after John Ferguson retired from training to concentrate on his new role as racing manager for Godolphin, the six-year-old was snapped up by Nick Bradley for £65,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland sale at Cheltenham in April.
He made his debut for his new owners and Elliott in the concluding Queen Alexandra Stakes at Ascot and struck gold under Adam Kirby.
Bradley said: "When I went to the sale, he was the horse I wanted. I paid a bit more than I wanted to for him, but it's been a few years since I've been as excited about a horse as I was about him.
"Saturday was obviously a great day and hopefully there's a lot to look forward to. "We had him in the Plate but Gordon just wanted to give him 10 days on the easy list. The Goodwood Cup is a possibility, or we could go to York for either the Ebor or the Lonsdale Cup, but the Melbourne Cup is Plan A."
The Northumberland Plate will be run on an artificial Tapeta surface for the first time since course executives decided to replace the turf course.
It has not affected the popularity of the race, though, with 73 horses still engaged, and for the first time there will even be a consolation race for those who miss the cut.
Simon Crisford's Gang Warfare heads the weights, followed by Seimsos and Angel Gabrial. Andrew Balding's Ballynanty, not seen since all-weather finals day, and Chester Cup one-two No Heretic and Nakeeta also feature.
As well as No Heretic, Nicky Henderson could run Cardinal Walter, while Elliott has left in dual purpose performer Eshtiaal.