Harris dreaming of Melbourne Cup bid for Scriptwriter

Milton Harris is hatching an audacious plan to get Scriptwriter rated highly enough for a tilt at the Melbourne Cup.

The two-mile ‘race that stops a nation’, which will be run at Flemington on November 7, is the richest handicap run anywhere in the world and was worth over £2.5million to connections of Gold Trip, who won it last year.

There there is always fierce competition for a place in the line-up which has a maximum of 24 runners.

But Warminster handler Harris is hopeful the former Aidan O’Brien-trained gelding will show his ability throughout the summer on the Flat, starting with Saturday’s Group Three John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes at York.

“He’s a Group horse, we’ve always thought that,” said Harris. “I’m going to tempt fate. He’s going to run on Saturday at York, I think. The main target has always been the Ebor at York.”

The Ebor victor will be given an automatic entry for the Melbourne Cup, with the York contest the only international win-and-you-are-in race.

Scriptwriter proved himself among the top young hurdlers last season, winning the Grade Two Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham in November.

He also landed a decent all-weather handicap on the Flat at Wolverhampton before being touched off in the Finesse Hurdle back at Cheltenham.

Scriptwriter was seventh to runaway winner Vauban in the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot on his return to action last month and while his official Flat rating is 103, he will need to improve if he is to have a chance of going to Australia.

Harris added: “I thought he ran well at Ascot from a bad draw, but just couldn’t win.

“So we are going to York on Saturday and then hopefully the Ebor. If those two races go well, we might have a go at the Melbourne Cup – if you don’t dream, you’ll never have one come to fruition, will you?”

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