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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Count Octave to join powerful Chris Waller stable after Australians buy stake

Count Octave (right): form behind Stradivarius caught the attention of Australian buyers
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The Queensland-based Aquis Farm has bought into Qatar Racing’s Melbourne Cup-bound stayer Count Octave with the colt set to join Chris Waller after arriving in the country. 

The four-year-old is in quarantine in Newmarket as he prepares to make the trip to Australia and will be raced by Aquis in conjunction with Sheikh Fahad’s Qatar Racing, who have retained a stake in the horse.  

Count Octave has been trained by Andrew Balding throughout his time in Britain and, despite proving no match for star stayer Stradivarius this term, the son of Frankel has held his form well throughout the campaign following his fine sixth in last season’s red-hot St Leger.

Count Octave's career form

Aquis Farm's chief executive Shane McGrath said Count Octave’s form with Stradivarius, who won the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers' Million bonus this season, was one of the principal factors in the farm's decision to purchase the classy stayer.

"We were looking for a cups horse and he came across our radar in the past week to ten days so we moved on him pretty quickly," he said.

"We're excited to be racing him with Sheikh Fahad, who we race Sunlight with, and we have a good rapport with David Redvers [racing manager at Qatar Racing], so it just made sense.

"We've secured Oisin Murphy to ride him. He's ridden in Australia before and is one of the main riders on the world stage now."

Oisin Murphy: Qatar's jockey will keep the ride in Australia

McGrath added: "Count Octave is effective on top of the ground, which is a big thing for us, and he looks to be improving. It's an exciting partnership and another step for Aquis in a race as iconic as the Melbourne Cup."

Joining Aquis and Qatar Racing in partnership in Count Octave will be Andrew Lloyd Webber and his wife Madeleine, who are riding the crest of a wave thanks to the exploits of Too Darn Hot and Lah Ti Dar. 

The Lloyd-Webbers have taken a ten per cent stake and McGrath said: "They have a musical opening in Melbourne around Cup week as well, so it's a nice little fit."

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It's an exciting partnership and another step for Aquis in a race as iconic as the Melbourne Cup
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