CUMMINGS’ MELBOURNE CUP ASSAULT STRENGTHENS
Bart Cummings is set to strengthen his line-up of Melbourne Cup runners this Saturday with the final ballot-free race for the Flemington feature, the Group 3 Lexus Quality, formerly the Saab Quality.
Cummings had high hopes for his maiden mare Think Money in Saturday’s Group 2 Cathay Pacific Airways Moonee Valley Cup, but the lightweight only managed to finish third creating a minor setback for Cummings to enter another contender in the Melbourne Cup.
A victory in the 2500m staying event would have ensured the Cups King entering the four-year-old mare in the famous Flemington feature on November 3. Think Money ($14), however, was defeated by outsiders The Sportsman ($31) and Irazu ($21) in a disappointing run for the trainer who claimed Cox Plate victory in the following race with rising superstar So You Think.
Cummings’ still has his Caulfield Cup quinella, Viewed and Roman Emperor aimed at the Melbourne Cup along with Toorak Handicap victor Allez Wonder confirmed as three of the 24 runners, as he hopes to win the world’s richest handicap for the 13th time.
With a powerful series of lead-up victories this spring and a strong line-up of entries in contention for the big one, Cummings has all the other trainers scared as he still looks set to claim the rare Spring Carnival treble, the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
Cummings’ won this year’s Caulfield Cup with Viewed, the Cox Plate with So You Think and only has to take out the Melbourne Cup to become the first trainer since Lee Freedman in 1992 to win the three major spring features. Freedman achieved the unique feat with Mannerism in the Caulfield Cup, Super Impose in the Cox Plate and the great grey Subzero in the Melbourne Cup.
After Saturday’s run, the infamous trainer did not believe Oaks placegetter Think Money, still a maiden, would secure a run in the Cup. Cummings though, in his true unforgiving form, is set to run her along with stablemate Dandaad in the Lexus Quality, attempting to increase the lowly ranked horses’ position on the order of entry.
Think Money is currently 52nd in order for a start in the Melbourne Cup and Geelong Cup runner-up Dandaad is 54th. However with today’s closing of the third declarations, both gallopers will rise in the order, but still not enough to secure a start without a ballot-free race victory.
Surprisingly neither the winner nor the runner-up in the Moonee Valley Cup will try for the big two-miler, with fourth placegetter Kibbutz ($51), trained by Jarrod McLean, the highest finishing Melbourne Cup hopeful aside from Think Money.
Russel Cameron-trained The Sportsman shocked everyone with the Moonee Valley Cup win, as the seven-year-old is well known for his love of wet tracks. Moonee Valley was rated a Good 3 on the day, with many believing it would be far too firm for the Kilimanjaro gelding.