Second acceptances for the 2012 Melbourne Cup have been announced and one Australian horse among them is Adelaide mare Southern Speed.
The five-year-old ran home strongly to finish sixth in the Cox Plate, leaving co-trainer Leon Macdonald confident she will be suited to the 3200-metre trip on Tuesday week.
“She’ll head towards the Melbourne Cup at this stage,” Macdonald said.
After beginning the spring in terrific fashion with three top three finishes including a win in the Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes, Southern Speed has since failed to produce her usual spark.
But Saturday’s performance was full of promising signs that the 2011 Caulfield Cup winner can be competitive in the nation’s biggest race.
Cox Plate jockey Luke Nolen said she was slow to begin but finished off well, giving her the approval to push on to the Melbourne Cup.
“She struggled to get through her gears up the hill, but she closed it out real good,” Nolen said after Saturday’s race.
“The last couple of sectionals would be comparable with the best in the race. It could be a good Melbourne Cup trial.”
The Southern Image mare is assured of a start in the Cup where she will carry 54.5kg, which is 4.5kg less than topweight Dunaden.
It will be the first time Southern Speed has run over 3200m and represents a steep rise in distance, with Saturday’s Cox Plate (2040m) her longest trip of the spring so far.
There were no surprise omissions following the latest round of Melbourne Cup declarations with Manighar, Midas Touch and Seville the only horses inside the top 40.
The final field will be announced on Saturday, the first day of the 2012 Melbourne Cup Carnvial which features the 2012 Victoria Derby, the 2012 Mackinnon Stakes, the 2012 Coolmore Stud Stakes and the 2012 Myer Classic.