Lloyd Williams-owned stayer Excluded heads a 14-horse field for Wednesday’s Listed $250,000 2012 Bendigo Cup (2400m) for which he will carry the topweight of 58kg.
The five-year-old remains in the acceptances for the 2012 Melbourne Cup but even a dominant victory is unlikely to see him receive enough of a penalty to make the field.
A son of High Chaparral, Excluded has been in impressive form his spring, winning two lower-level races before an eighth-placed glitch in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) was redeemed with a runner-up finish behind Shahwardi in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m).
He is one of two horses in the Bendigo Cup field still vying for a Melbourne Cup berth, with the other Queensland gelding Spechenka.
But the seven-year-old will have to show a remarkable turnaround from his last start to have an impact on Wednesday, having been beaten 11 lengths when 13th in the City Tattersalls Club Cup at Randwick.
A Group 3 winner over the Melbourne Cup distance of 3200 metres, Spechenka is also unlikely to make the Melbourne Cup field in what is his second crack at qualification.
The Ben Ahrens-trained gelding was unplaced in the Geeldong Cup and Lexus Stakes last year.
The horse with the best lead-up form heading into the Bendigo Cup is another from Team Williams, Practiced.
An emerging stayer by Encosta De Lago, Practiced has finished in the top two in all four of his spring starts but faces a step up in class at Bendigo.
Also in the field is nine-year-old Group 1 winner Fiumicino who showed he still may have some good racing left when finishing fourth in the Tattersall’s Club Cup.
The Zabeel gelding has won two Group 1 races and amassed nearly $3 million in prizemoney.
Others contesting the Bendigo Cup include William Smart’s Silent Surround and Adelaide gelding Heaven’s Riches.
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Bendigo Cup 2012 – Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||22x6x51182||EXCLUDED (NZ)||Robert Hickmott||TBA||8||58kg||98|
|2||00x9000x67||BOOM ’N’ ZOOM||Ken Keys||Nicholas Hall||7||55kg||92|
|3||0438×90974||FIUMICINO (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||TBA||13||55kg||92|
|4||2084187520||SPECHENKA||Ben Ahrens||Steven King||5||55kg||92|
|5||42×5021085||SILENT SURROUND||William Smart||Damien Oliver||3||54.5kg||93|
|6||0x21336324||SKY RAIDER||Tony McEvoy||Matthew Neilson||10||54.5kg||89|
|7||5618272×09||MAYTHEHORSEBEMAGIC (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Kerrin McEvoy||4||54.5kg||89|
|8||24157×0730||MISS WITH ATTITUDE||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||9||54.5kg||86|
|9||22x114x512||PUISSANCE DE LUNE (IRE)||Darren Weir||TBA||14||54.5kg||84|
|10||90188×0950||HEAVEN’S RICHES||Robbie Laing||Dean Holland||11||54.5kg||80|
|12||6005318118||DIAMONDS AT NOON||Bill Cerchi||Dean Yendall||2||54.5kg||74|
|13||418×695934||ZUMA ROC||Neil Walsh||Andrew Mallyon||6||54.5kg||68|
|14||3213232744||FANTASTIC PORSCHA||John Symons & Sheila Laxon||Vlad Duric||12||54.5kg||65|