Today the first of two Victoria Derby Day races offering a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption to the winner was the 2012 Lexus Stakes with the Chris Waller-trained Kelinni earning a start in next Tuesday’s ‘race that stops a nation’.
Before their gritty effort in the $250,000 Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) today Waller’s Refuse To Bend four-year-old Kelinni was 38th on the order of entry for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
However they are now straight into the 24-horse Melbourne Cup field that will be announced at the end of the day.
Waller had Kelinni picked as the form horse going into the Lexus Stakes today and confirmed they would be paying the final acceptance fee for the race this afternoon.
It was a nice pace in the Lexus with Dame Claire going to the front earlier to lead right through until the final few hundred metres.
Kelinni was one of the worst away from the gates and had to settle back worse than midfield, the favourite Gatewood settled into a nice position fifth on the fence.
Jockey Nash Rawiller began his run on Kelinni ($9.50), who had been ridden quietly throughout, with about 300m left to travel, the horse getting out and rolling along like a stayer should after hitting the lead.
There was a traffic jam on the straight and certainly a few hard luck stories in the Lexus including that of the Bart Cummings-trained runner-up Dare To Dream ($8.50) who went back on the inside and threatened as a danger before getting caught up and eventually finishing just a nose away second.
In an all-Sydney Lexus Stakes trifecta Exceptionally ($10) finished a further length away third having raced right up on the speed in third throughout.
The hot favouirte, Geelong Cup winner Gatewood ($3), dropped right out on the straight eventually finishing sixth, English trainer John Gosden having to kiss goodbye to their Melbourne Cup dreams.
Waller however is now in the Melbourne Cup 2012 with a genuine chance, Kelinni slashed from $151 to $21 in the Melbourne Cup odds after their Lexus Stakes victory.
“It’s a great feeling to be part of the race,” Waller said of the Melbourne Cup.
“And it’s (the Lexus) has proven to be a pretty good form race for the Cup.
“He’s been the model of consistency running a good second in a group 1 (The Metropolitan) last start.
“We purposely picked him for this race for him.”
While Kelinni is yet to race over further than today’s 2500m, Waller said they had carefully studied the pedigree and breed line of the former European and was confident that they would get the Melbourne Cup distance.
“Two miles shouldn’t be a problem at all,” Waller said.
Rawiller, who won’t be able to make the lightweight to ride Kelinni in the Melbourne Cup, was also confident the horse could be competitive in the world’s richest handicap.
“He’s been competitive in Sydney with the best of them,” Rawiller said.
“He’s had good form on Glencadam Gold and those horses.
“We got a sweet run today and he showed an excellent turn of foot.
“I don’t think staying’s his problem.
“Chris (Waller) and those guys don’t leave a stone unturned and the horse was ready for it today.
“He’s got a live chance this year (in the Melbourne Cup) so I wish him luck.”
The Lexus Stakes results will have an impact on the make-up of the 2012 Melbourne Cup final field and betting markets, as will those of the Mackinnon Stakes later in the day.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au to view the Melbourne Cup field 2012 which is due for release later this afternoon.
In the meantime why not get in on the Victoria Derby Day betting action by following the line to bookmaker.com.au – our No. 1 preferred and recommended sportsbook this spring.
2012 Lexus Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Flemington Race 2 – 03/11/2012
|1||4||KELINNI (IRE)||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||–||9||57kg||$9.50|
|2||12||DARE TO DREAM (IRE)||Bart Cummings||James McDonald||0.3L||10||55kg||$8.50|
|3||8||EXCEPTIONALLY (NZ)||Terry & Karina O’Sullivan||Dean Yendall||1.3L||4||55kg||$10|
|4||5||IBICENCO (GER)||Luca Cumani||Kerrin McEvoy||2.05L||2||56.5kg||$41|
|5||9||DAME CLAIRE (NZ)||Pat Carey||Peter Mertens||2.45L||6||55kg||$21|
|6||1||GATEWOOD (GB)||John Gosden||Glen Boss||2.65L||3||58kg||$3F|
|7||7||REUBEN PERCIVAL (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Vlad Duric||3.15L||5||55.5kg||$14|
|8||11||SABRAGE||Michael Moroney||Damien Oliver||4.15L||7||55kg||$61|
|9||10||FICTIONAL ACCOUNT (IRE)||David Hayes||Mark Zahra||4.25L||1||55kg||$51|
|10||13||PEAL OF BELLS||Gwenda Markwell||Jim Cassidy||4.65L||8||55kg||$51|
|11||2||TANBY||Robert Hickmott||Hugh Bowman||4.75L||13||58kg||$15|
|12||3||PERMIT (GB)||Chris Waller||Corey Brown||5.5L||11||57.5kg||$51|
|13||6||EXCLUDED (NZ)||Robert Hickmott||Craig Williams||7.25L||12||55.5kg||$5.50|