2014 Geelong Cup winner Caravan Rolls On will likely start the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington this Saturday, since his place in the 2014 Melbourne Cup field is not guaranteed.
The seven-year-old entire is currently sitting at 27th in the order of entry for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), following the withdrawal of The Offer on Tuesday, and will need to rely on a bit more attrition to the nominations to make the 24-horse field.
Or he can run (and win) the 2014 Lexus Stakes, as the winner of the race is exempt from the Melbourne Cup ballot and guaranteed a start.
“I think it would be an outside hope for him to get a run [in the Cup], unless there is significant attrition, so at this stage he will definitely be running in the Lexus,” trainer Danny O’Brien told racing.com.
“In saying that, if he can’t win the Lexus he probably can’t win the Melbourne Cup.”
Caravan Rolls On has come through the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) last Wednesday well and O’Brien is happy with the improvement the galloper has taken from his winning run.
O’Brien has said the entire is a genuine two-miler who had to be kept very fresh for the 2400m distance of the Geelong Cup, which will undoubtedly be a similar concern for the Lexus Stakes which is just 100m longer.
“There’s good improvement in the horse [since Geelong] and certainly to my eye, he looks to have made it; he’s a very happy horse and we’re expecting to run very well in whatever he steps out in next,” the trainer said.
Even though the Lexus Stakes is just three days before the Melbourne Cup, the path has precedence for success.
Mark Kavanagh won the double with Shocking in 2009 while Maluckyday won the 2010 Lexus Stakes before backing-up to claim second in the Melbourne Cup that year.
“It’s an achievable aim and for a horse trained here at Flemington it’s probably a bit easier,” O’Brien said.
Caravan Rolls On is currently a $34 shot to win the 2014 Melbourne Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au, with Admire Rakti leading the betting market at $4.80.
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