A 15-horse field of stayers has been accepted to run in the $300,000 Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington this Saturday, many of which are after the 2013 Melbourne Cup ballot exemption on offer to the winner.
Running at 12:45pm (AEST) as the third race on the Victoria Derby Day race program this year, the 2013 Lexus Stakes is shaping up as a tense clash.
Heading the Lexus Stakes field with the 58kg top-weight is the Pat Carey-trained Ethiopia.
Winner of last year’s Australian Derby the now five-year-old was last seen running a disappointing 13th in the Caulfield Cup on October 19.
They are now a $101 roughie in early markets for Tuesday’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), a race they finished dead last in 12 months ago.
Ethiopia however is the only horse in the Lexus Stakes field guaranteed a start in the capacity 24-horse Melbourne Cup field should they accept currently sitting 13th on the order of entry for the ‘race that stops a nation’.
The other Lexus Stakes nominees that were also guaranteed Cup starters were the Robert Hickmott-trained duo of Sea Moon and Mourayan.
Owner Lloyd Williams however did not accept for either galloper.
The flying Sea Moon, a $13 Melbourne Cup hope, will go straight to Flemington Race 7 on November 5 while Mourayan will have their final hit-up in the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) on Saturday.
Other notable Lexus Stakes defectors included the Bart & James Cummings-trained Moonee Valley Cup winner Precedence who they will throw the dice with to see if they make the field next Tuesday, and UK galloper Forgotten Voice.
Sitting right on the verge of a Melbourne Cup start, 25th on the ballot, is then Chris Waller’s Lexus Stakes acceptor Kelinni.
The Refuse To Bend six-year-old was fourth to Sea Moon in the two mile classic last Melbourne Cup Carnival but isn’t fancied this year, Kelinni an $81 outside for the world’s richest handicap.
That price will shorten if they do manage an upset in the Lexus when jumping from barrier three with Nash Rawiller aboard, Kelinni the second heaviest weighted with 57kg.
The other horses in the Lexus Stakes field after the Melbourne Cup free pass are then:
- My Quest For Peace (27th)
- Moudre (33rd)
- Julienas (34th)
- Kingdoms (35th)
- Araldo (37th)
- Ironstein (38th)
- Motivado (39th)
- Let’s Make Adeal (40th)
- Vaquera (41st)
- Bass Strait (=43rd)
- Garud (=43rd)
- Ruscello (=43rd)
There are two last-start winners from the above list who will be looking to continue their good form with the Michael Moroney-trained Araldo and John O’Shea’s Kingdoms.
High Chaparral stallion Araldo was awarded a penalty win over Sea Moon in the Listed The Bart Cummings at the same track (Flemington) and distance (2500m) as this weekend back on October 5.
They are a $101 roughie for the Melbourne Cup however.
Kingdoms meanwhile won the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at Randwick on October 19 in a narrow finish over Saint Encosta.
They now travel interstate for the first time to run in the Lexus and keep the Melbourne Cup ($126) dream alive for O’Shea.
O’Shea believes them a good chance on Saturday too saying their form is similar to that of 2010 Lexus Stakes winner Maluckyday who, after a Melbourne victory in the Tatt’s Cup, went on to run second to Americain in the Melbourne Cup.
“I think he’s got a good profile for the race that he’s in on Saturday,” O’Shea told Racing Victoria.
“All the Melbourne stayers have been racing each other, so he’s the fresh formline.
“He’s a progressive young stayer with not too many convictions and he’s coming right at the right time.”
Other Lexus chances with good lead-up form then include the Ciaron Maher-trained Geelong Cup third placed Moudre, the David Hayes-trained Bass Strait and Moroney’s other runner Garud on the rails with Craig Williams to ride.
Check out the full Lexus Stakes 2013 field below.
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2013 Lexus Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Flemington Race 3 – 12:45pm (AEST) – 02/11/2013
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||7640x0x500||ETHIOPIA||Pat Carey||Hugh Bowman||9||58kg||109|
|2||96416×0779||KELINNI (IRE)||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||3||57kg||107|
|3||100×243120||JULIENAS (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||Damien Oliver||12||56.5kg||106|
|4||150x70x000||MY QUEST FOR PEACE (IRE)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||15||56.5kg||106|
|5||3008×36783||MOUDRE||Ciaron Maher||Ms Michelle Payne||7||54.5kg||102|
|6||x11134x031||ARALDO (GB)||Michael Moroney||Glen Boss||6||54kg||99|
|7||622x3x7807||BRIGANTIN (USA)||Pat Carey||Brett Prebble||10||54kg||99|
|8||067×902546||IRONSTEIN||Gerald Ryan||Brenton Avdulla||2||54kg||98|
|9||5447×25192||BASS STRAIT (NZ)||David Hayes||Dwayne Dunn||11||54kg||95|
|10||26433×0601||KINGDOMS (NZ)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||5||54kg||95|
|11||x4122x1424||LET’S MAKE ADEAL||Nigel Blackiston||Michael Walker||14||54kg||95|
|12||211033×134||VAQUERA (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||8||54kg||95|
|13||144x512x09||MOTIVADO (GB)||David Hayes||Craig Newitt||4||54kg||93|
|14||29x345x323||GARUD (IRE)||Michael Moroney||Craig Williams||1||54kg||90|
|15||81×3943332||RUSCELLO (IRE)||Ed Walker||Kerrin McEvoy||13||54kg||80|