Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
On Wednesday a field featuring a number of Melbourne Cup 2011-bound gallopers embarking on an eleventh hour bid to move into the top 24 on the order of entry for the famous Flemington feature will contest the $200,000 Listed Bendigo Cup (2400m).
Due to run as Bendigo Race 8 at 4:00pm (AESDT) on Wednesday, the 2011 Bendgo Cup has drawn a final field of 13 stayers, eight of which were among the 47 second acceptors for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) taken on Monday morning.
While the Bendigo Cup does not offer a ballot exemption into the Melbourne Cup, unlike Saturday’s $250,000 Group 3 The Lexus Stakes (2500m) and $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington, the winner will be given the chance to move up the ballot and possibly into the starting line-up on the first Tuesday of November by attracting a weight penalty.
The 58kg topweight of the Bendigo Cup field is the Robert Hickmott-trained At First Sight, who is the only horse in the race currently inside the top 24 for the Melbourne Cup sitting 20th on the order of entry.
The Galileo stallion, who is paying $31 in the Melbourne Cup Luxbet markets, has also been nominated as a precaution in both the Mackinnon and Lexus on Derby Day, but Bendigo is the target.
“At First Sight has done work at Bendigo and he likes the track,” co-owner Nick Williams said.
“If he handles the 58kg he should be winning the race.”
Last seen running a game second to December Draw in the Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 17, At First Sight suffered a spring setback when minor injury ruled them out of a number of crucial runs but connections say they are back on track now.
“He’s on the borderline on the order of entry, but we’re confident he’ll get a run,” Williams said.
Other Bendigo Cup Acceptors in 2011 Melbourne Cup Entries:
- Tanby (Robert Hickmott) – Unlike their above stablemate, Tanby is not guaranteed a Melbourne Cup start as they are 38th on the order of entry, second in the Herbert Power Stakes before their last-start second to Dunaden in the Geelong Cup last Wednesday, also among Lexus noms, $51 to win the Melbourne Cup at Luxbet
- Sahara Sun (Luca Cumani) – One of four Melbourne Cup entries for Cumani, sits 24th on the ballot so right on the cusp of a start with Lexus and Mackinnon winners possibly pushing them out of the starting line-up, former Chilean racehorse ran seventh to Descarado in the Caulfield Stakes in their Australian debut $151 in the Melbourne Cup odds at Luxbet
- Lamasery (David Vandyke) – $201 Melbourne Cup chance, 32nd on the order of entry, last seen running third to The Verminator in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 1, another dual Lexus/Mackinnon nominee
- Cosmonaut (Bart Cummings) – Roughie of Bart Cummings’ trio of Melbourne Cup hopes, 44th in the order of entry, $301 in the markets, comes off a last-start win over 2000m at Caulfield on October 12, handy but not a genuine Melbourne Cup hope, Lexus entry thrown in as a backup
- Two For Tea (Gai Waterhouse) – Well outside chance for the Melbourne Cup sitting 41st on the ballot, pays $401 in the futures at Luxbet, last seen running a disappointing 13th in the Herbert Power
- Western Symbol (Gai Waterhouse) – Another longshot for Waterhouse, paying $301 for the Melbourne Cup, last on the order of entry (47th) would need a miracle to get in
- Back In Black (John Steffert) – $401 in Melbourne Cup markets, unlikely to get a start sitting 46th in the ballot
Meanwhile, Troy Blacker’s veteran seven-year-old Dream Pedlar will vie for back-to-back Bendigo Cup victories on Wednesday from barrier 11 with in-form hoop Craig Williams aboard.
Williams is the jockey of the moment having won the Caulfield Cup with Southern Speed, Geelong Cup with Melbourne Cup second elect Dunaden and the Cox Plate aboard Pinker Pinker in the space of seven days.
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2011 Bendigo Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||X23245X062||AT FIRST SIGHT (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Nicholas Hall||5||58kg||106|
|2||1255X00610||DREAM PEDLAR||Troy Blacker||Craig Williams||11||56kg||102|
|3||11146X4113||LAMASERY||David Vandyke||Brenton Avdulla||13||56kg||102|
|4||3122112X67||SAHARA SUN (CHI)||Luca Cumani||Dwayne Dunn||10||56kg||102|
|5||1X31488X71||BOOM ’N’ ZOOM||Ken Keys||Craig Newitt||7||54.5kg||99|
|6||2114X03122||TANBY||Robert Hickmott||Steven King||4||54kg||98|
|7||54X5941586||BACK IN BLACK (NZ)||John Steffert||Danny Nikolic||3||53kg||93|
|8||115724X155||INNOCENT LADY (NZ)||Graeme & Mark Sanders||James Winks||6||53kg||93|
|9||21124X0073||OLYMPIC WIN (NZ)||Robert Smerdon||Chris Symons||2||53kg||87|
|10||2109X41030||TWO FOR TEA (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Michael Walker||12||53kg||85|
|11||214X233121||WESTERN SYMBOL (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||1||53kg||76|
|12||X731811X44||SUNSET CAFE||Leon Corstens||Stephen Baster||9||53kg||75|
|13||75778X4161||COSMONAUT||Bart Cummings||Luke Nolen||8||53kg||72|
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