The 2013 Drake International Cup win at Moonee Valley this afternoon by gallant old galloper Precedence has kept the Melbourne Cup dream alive for 12 time winning trainer Bart Cummings and his new partner, grandson James Cummings.
The field for this year’s $250,000 Group 2 Drake International Cup (2500m), also known as the Moonee Valley Gold Cup, lost a number of its draw card contenders early including Ibicenco who ran on Wednesday to win the Geelong Cup.
Just eight were left to square off on Cox Plate Day then and it was the veteran of the field, eight-year-old Zabeel gelding Precedence who stole the show.
Proving the pedigree of Zabeels that just get better with age, Precedence could now be in line for a weight penalty from Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter which could help get them into the field for Tuesday week’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Winner of the 2013 Moonee Valley Gold Cup, today becoming just the fifth dual winner of the race since it was first run back in 1883, Precedence currently sits 45th on the Melbourne Cup order of entry with 52kg.
With a high attrition rate, a one kilo penalty for their Moonee Valley win and some luck he could be there on the first Tuesday of November for his fourth straight Melbourne Cup appearance.
They ran ninth last year from barrier 20, 11th in 2011 behind French raider Dunaden and eight for their first run in the ‘race that stops a nation’ back in 2010.
However they seem to be just hitting their peak at eight, a lovely sign that would make an even more incredible story for the ‘Cup’s King’ Bart Cummings who would be saddling up his 88th Melbourne Cup starter.
“There’s plenty of fight left in this old boy so don’t count him out,” James Cummings said post-win today.
“Someone should tell Greg Carpenter…Bart will be there on Cup Day there to cheer him on (if he makes the field).
“Words cannot describe it (working with a legend like Bart).
“The way the horse is going, to put that performance on that track today.
“I think we’re seeing the fruits of that labour now and I think he’s got some more to offer.”
“I think he might have a little bit of improvement again.
“He’s by Zabeel…it’s a great pedigree that just get better with age.
“When Bart strapped Comic Court (in 1950) it was his third go at the Melbourne Cup before he won so it can be done.”
Precedence jumped as a $7.50 chance in today’s Drake International Cup and was given a gun run by big race specialist Craig Williams.
The pair settled into fifth on the back of the race favourite Sneek A Peak who got into an ideal position fourth before fading in the closing stages.
Track specialist Mourinho led the field finding a comfortable lead that they maintained until the straight.
With 1000m left to travel Precedence was travelling sweetly about six lengths off the leader, taking off once coming round the bend to put himself right in the race.
The eventual winner loomed strongly on the outside, with the in-form Saab Hasan-trained Shoreham also trying hard.
But Precedence had too much acceleration in the end and ran away for a one and a half length win over Shoreham, who was a touch unlucky with the gap closing at the wrong time, with Gotta Take Care the same distance away in third.
“I was very fortunate to be getting on Precedence today,” Williams said after the win.
“Credit to Bart and James he just gave me such a great ride.
“I love his (Precedence’s) mannerisms. He’s really got that acceleration at the end of the race.
“I was really happy, he was really smooth thought the race. They’ve just got him right where they want him.”
And as for the Melbourne Cup, Precedence firming in from triple figures in Melbourne Cup betting to a $71 chance today, Williams said it would be a fairytale to have them get a run.
“When you’ve got the Bart Cummings factor it’s always amazing and wouldn’t it be great for history for Bart to have another runner,” he said.
The tongue tie went on Precedence today and it worked a treat, a vital gear change the Cummings crew will continue with if they make the 24 starter Melbourne Cup field.
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2013 Moonee Valley Cup Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 7 – 26/10/2013
|1||5||PRECEDENCE (NZ)||Bart & James Cummings||Craig Williams||–||2||56kg||$7.50|
|2||11||SHOREHAM||Saab Hasan||Chris Symons||1.5L||6||54kg||$5|
|3||9||GOTTA TAKE CARE||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||3L||4||55kg||$7|
|4||6||MOURINHO||Peter Gelagotis||Craig Newitt||3.75L||3||56kg||$4.80|
|5||1||TANBY||Robert Hickmott||Steven Arnold||6.5L||8||57kg||$9|
|6||10||MUJADALE||Paul A Jones||Stephen Baster||6.6L||7||55kg||$31|
|7||8||RAEBURN||Brian Smith||James McDonald||7.1L||1||55kg||$71|
|8||2||SNEAK A PEEK (ITY)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||13.1L||5||57kg||$4F|
|–||4||FORGOTTEN VOICE (IRE)||Nicky Henderson||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||3||TREMEC (NZ)||John P Thompson||Michael Walker||–||0||–||–|
|–||7||IBICENCO (GER)||Peter G Moody||Brad Rawiller||–||0||–||–|