MONEYBAGS Luke Comer enjoyed probably his finest moment as a trainer when Raa Atoll pulled off a well-executed plan in winning a Group 2 race in Berlin recently.
There are many elements that add significance to this event for Comer, among them the fact the 2-mile Oleaner Rennen outing at Hoppegarten racecourse was sponsored by the Comer Group and, in winning the prestigious prize with Raa Atoll, Comer relegated none other than Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci into second spot.
Another reason for Comer to feel somewhat smug was the fact that Raa Atoll was having his first run for him, having been purchased out of the powerful John Gosden stable for a bargain 30,000 gns last October.
Given that Raa Atoll is now a Group 2 winning son of Sea The Stars, with all his equipment intact, Comer may well have a potential stallion prospect on his hands, not to mention the U60,000 prize money, which means that Comer effectively now has a free horse.
Any immediate stallion thoughts will have to be shelved, however. Winning the German race means Raa Atoll qualifies to take part in the Weatherbys Million Pound Bonus, which is on offer to a horse that can clinch the treble of the Ascot Gold Cup, the Goodwood Cup and the Lonsdale Cup. This feat was achieved last year by the Gosden-trained Stradivarius, although admittedly Raa Atoll would be a real long shot to achieve the same.
Another distraction to that challenge would be Comer’s desire to win another race he sponsors – the Comer Group Irish St Leger, a Group 1 at the Curragh in September. This race may not be out of reach of the horse.
In the aftermath of the win in Berlin, Comer mentioned the tantalising prize of the Melbourne Cup as a possible end-of-season target and, while the zillioniare is well known for tilting at windmills when it comes to his horses, Melbourne may not be as quixotic as it sounds.