On Saturday Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller will give two stayers from his stable the chance to sneak into the 2012 Melbourne Cup field when Permit and Kelinni run in the $250,000 Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington during the Victoria Derby Day action.
The 2012 Lexus Stakes, due to run as Flemington Race 2 at 12:00pm (AEST), is one of two final races offering a ballot exemption for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) next Tuesday to the winner along with the Mackinnon Stakes.
As such the 13-horse Lexus Stakes field are all still among the official Melbourne Cup entries including Waller’s duo.
Both Dansili six-year-old Permit and Refuse To Bend four-year-old Kelinni need to win the Lexus and be penalised notably for the victory if they are to move up the Melbourne Cup ballot and secure a spot in the 24-horse field as they currently sit 35th and 38th respectively in the order of entry.
The stablemates are also both roughies in the current Melbourne Cup betting markets at bookmaker.com.au with Permit, last seen running a credible fifth in the Listed Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at Randwick two weeks ago, a $251 long-shot and recent Group 3 Colin Stephen Quality winner Kelinni also at triple figures paying $151.
Still Waller isn’t giving up hope of being represented in this year’s edition of the ‘race that stops a nation’ and has his fingers crossed for a Lexus upset.
“They both need to win to get into the Melbourne Cup and we’re realistic about their chances,” Waller said.
It will most definitely be an upset too with Lexus Stakes odds led by John Gosden’s British raider Gatewood ($3) who won the Geelong Cup last time out.
Meanwhile Kelinni, who comes off a second to Glencadam Gold in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m), and Permit are both at double digits paying $11 and $26 respectively.
Of the pair it, whom both have their first runs in Melbourne this season on Saturday, it is Kelinni that Waller believes has the best form and more realistic chance.
“Kelinni is certainly the form horse of the two and if he wins the race he deserves to be there (in the Melbourne Cup),” Waller said.
“And if he doesn’t win the race he wasn’t going to win the Melbourne Cup this year anyway.
“He’s done a great job thus far and anything else is a bonus really.”
Permit meanwhile will be fitted with ear muffs again and have the blinkers removed from his gear in an attempt to get him back to better form.
“He’s been disappointing,” Waller said of the former European.
“His run in the Metrop was disappointing and his grand final last preparation in the Sydney Cup was disappointing.
“We haven’t quite worked him out. I’ve put some ear muffs on him for Saturday and taken the blinkers off, just trying to get him to relax mid-race because for whatever reason he’s just got nothing there to finish the race off.
“All the other signs are good. He’s sound and he’s well but something is stopping him in the race when the distances get further and it’s certainly not his staying ability.”
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