The Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) is the key supporting race of Victoria Derby Day at Flemington this Saturday.
13 potential stayers have confirmed for the race, with all but one then nominated for the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) three days later on Tuesday, November 4. With a guaranteed Cup start awarded to the winner of the 2014 Lexus Stakes, this is sure to be one exciting, hotly-contested race.
Five of the 13 runners are offering single figure odds in the Lexus Stakes betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au, led by Signoff at $2.80.
Punters are confident the Darren Weir-trained gelding can win the race and earn a start in the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup field. Unlike some of the horses, he definitely needs the win for a chance at running the ‘race that stops the nation’ since he is at No.36 in the Melbourne Cup order of entry.
Signoff has yet to earn a win this season but enjoyed top three finishes in both the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) and Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m). He will be partnered with superstar international hoop Joao Moreira, who will also ride him if he earns a start in the 2014 Melbourne Cup, and will enjoy a great start from barrier three.
It’s no surprise the punters have been putting some serious money on Signoff. He is the market mover of the Lexus Stakes odds, shortening from $3.80 to $2.80, making him the clear favourite.
His victory won’t be that easy; he must first beat 12 classy rivals to the post, most of which are gunning for that Melbourne Cup ballot exemption, including four other single figure hopefuls.
Lord Van Percy ($7.50) is No.30 on the order of entry after failing to place in the Herbert Power. He did however come runner-up in the Ebor Handicap (2800m) so is a proven stayer. He will jump midfield from barrier six with top jockey Kerrin McEvoy.
Big Memory (28th), Caravan Rolls On (27th), and La Amistad (26th) are all $8 shots to win the 2014 Lexus Stakes, rounding out the single figure runners.
Tony McEvoy’s Big Memory earned a 2kg weight penalty for winning the 2014 Herbert Power Stakes but it wasn’t enough to guarantee him a start in the Melbourne Cup 2014 after finishing 10th in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) due to a wide barrier start. So the gelding will have one final chance to earn himself a place on the field this Saturday with Corey Brown in the saddle.
The Danny O’Brien-trained Caravan Rolls On is the only last start winner on the field after taking out the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) one week ago. O’Brien was hopeful his horse would earn a big enough penalty for the win to gain a start in the Melbourne Cup but that didn’t happen. Luckily, he has scored the ideal inside run from barrier one with Craig Williams to ride.
Hawkes Racing’s La Amistad’s only success this spring campaign was a runner-up finish in the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2406m) a fortnight ago. He will get a good start from barrier four with Dwayne Dunn as hoop.
Unchain My Heart ($61) is an unlikely Lexus Stakes runner considering he is in the coveted No.24 spot on the Melbourne Cup order of entry, tentatively guaranteeing the mare a start. However she could be leapfrogged by the winner of the Lexus so trainers David Hayes & Tom Dabernig are weighing up their options. Should any horse above her not pass the vet checks on Thursday, she will be scratched from the race and go straight to the Cup, however they may have to reluctantly start her.
There’s no doubt about it, the Lexus Stakes will be a powerhouse race. Check out the complete 2014 Lexus Stakes odds from Ladbrokes.com.au below to choose your winner.
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