Trainer Johnny Murtagh has revealed that recent Irish St Leger winner Sonnyboyliston won't be running in the Melbourne Cup.
Having also landed the Ebor at York this summer, the four-year-old had been considered for a trip to Australia for next month's big race but Murtagh says travel restrictions have put paid to those plans.
"It's very difficult to get down there full stop," the Kildare handler told Racing.com. It's hard to get people there with the COVID-19 restrictions. It's hard to get down there as a trainer and enjoy the whole build-up and everything that goes with the Carnival.
"We've had a few offers. There were a few offers before the Ebor and there were a few offers after the Ebor.
"But everyone was saying 'get him in the bone scan' and 'we don't want to buy him unless he can come down here and run in the race'.
"He's a pretty sound horse, but he's had a hard season and I just didn't fancy putting him through all that at this point of the year."
Time for a break
Murtagh added that Sonnyboyliston will now take a rest until the end of the current season.
"I spoke to the owners the other day and the horse has come out of the race really, really well.
"But to be fair to him, he's run in the Ebor and ran in a grueller here at the Curragh - a very strongly run race over a mile and six. It was a titanic battle with him and Twilight Payment and he came out on top.
"He's been on the go for a long time and hasn't let us down all year. I feel it's time for him to have a little break now.
"He's only four and is one of the top stayers in Europe at the moment. Stradivarius isn't getting any younger.
"The Melbourne Cup was in the back of our minds, but it wasn't the plan - and to go over there and take on the best in Australia, the Melbourne Cup has to be the number one target."