It has been confirmed that La Amistad, the three-quarter sister of the great Makybe Diva, will take the field in the 2014 Melbourne Cup on Tuesday is she wins the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) tomorrow and aim to follow in her famous sister’s footsteps.
The five-year-old mare is at No.26 on the Melbourne Cup order of entry, two spots clear of a guaranteed start. With no runners having been withdrawn from the race following vet checks earlier today, it’s looking more and more likely La Amistad will need to win the 2014 Lexus Stakes if she wants to run in ‘the race that stops the nation’.
The winner of the Lexus Stakes is guaranteed a start in the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) leapfrogging the horses in the ballot. However given the race is just three days before the Cup, horses run the risk of not coming through the race well.
Still, La Amistad’s co-trainer Wayne Hawkes confirmed during a media conference at Crown casino in Melbourne on Friday that the mare would back-up from the race.
“If she wins the Lexus and she’s okay she will run in the Cup,” Hawkes said via TVN.
“I learnt from Maluckyday (second to Americain in 2010 Cup after winning the Lexus) that you take your chances when they come.
“Maluckyday was a freak horse and everyone was patting us on the back saying well done you’ve got next year’s Melbourne Cup winner and he got pneumonia and never raced (at that level) again, so if La Amistad makes it she’ll run – she’s a five-year-old after all.
“She needs to win and win well and if she does that then she deserves to be there and if not she’ll be having a spell on Sunday.”
La Amistad will get a good start in the Lexus Stakes, jumping from barrier four with Dwayne Dunn as hoop. She’s a $8 shot to win the race in the Ladbrokes.com.au betting market, behind market mover Signoff ($2.80) and Lord Van Percy ($6.50).
However when it comes to the 2014 Melbourne Cup betting market, she’s only a $51 chance to win.
The mare has yet to be tested at the two-mile distance of the Cup, with last year’s Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m), in which she finished eighth, her longest distance race. She’s a proven winner over 2400m though, winning the Listed McKell Cup (2400m) and finishing runner-up last time out in the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2406m).
Hawkes believes she’s got the ability to be a contender in the 2014 Melbourne Cup.
“Her ability says she’s good enough but just maybe physically and mentally she’s not quite there yet,” he said.
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