Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
In a devastating Derby Day result for connections of the John Gosden-trained Gatewood, the English galloper has failed to gain a start in the Melbourne Cup 2012 field after running sixth to Kelinni in today’s $250,000 Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m).
Five-year-old Galileo stallion Gatewood debuted down under on October 13 when running a luckless seventh to French galloper Shahwardi in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m).
They atoned for that run next start however when triple Melbourne Cup winning jockey Glen Boss rode them to a smart win in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 24.
That win, and the subsequent 1kg weight penalty from Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter, however failed to secure Gatewood a run in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Desperate to get the horse into the capacity 24-horse field for Flemington Race 7 on Tuesday November 6, connections did something rare for an English stayer and ran Gatewood again in the Lexus Stakes.
Today’s Lexus Stakes winner was guaranteed a Melbourne Cup start, the race offering a ballot exemption, and Gatewood was the short-priced favourite to win.
After settling in a nice position fourth behind the fast-paced frontrunner Dame Claire, Gatewood faded on the straight and could only manage to finish over two and a half lengths away sixth to the Chris Waller-trained Kelinni.
While Kelinni, a $21 shot in the post-Lexus Melbourne Cup betting markets at bookmaker.com.au, is now straight through to the Melbourne Cup field – it is goodbye to Gatewood who was 33rd on the order of entry before today.
The loss of today’s Lexus favourite also sees Boss in serious danger of missing out on a ride in this year’s Cup.
His last possible chance now lies in the Robert Hickmott-trained, Lloyd Williams-owned Green Moon who he rode for both their Turnbull Stakes win and disappointing Cox Plate seventh.
Paying $16 in earlier Melbourne Cup odds, Green Moon is far from a certain final acceptor this afternoon however with connections leaving the decision to the eleventh hour.
Carpenter said that situation of horses like Gatewood not making the Melbourne Cup 2012 was a testimony to the strength of this year’s classic.
“The real evidence of just how deep the race runs is that we have a situation that rarely occurs — that the Herbert Power Handicap winner (Shahwardi), Moonee Valley Cup winner (Vatuvei) and the Geelong Cup winner (Gatewood) at the moment are struggling to gain a spot,” Carpenter said yesterday.
“We will have a situation of both overseas and local horses of tremendous ability missing a start in the race. In my memory, we have never had so many class horses vying for so few positions.
“I think some of those that fall short of a start would have been highly competitive in cups of the past. The profile of the race just seems to get better every year.”
Bookmark us here at Races.com.au to view the official Melbourne Cup final field, acceptances closing at 4:30pm (AEST) today.
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