Veteran 10-year-old Ihtsahymn entered the...
Australia’s leading lady of racing Gai Waterhouse is into the 2017 Melbourne Cup field with a chance to secure her second Loving Trophy after the gutsy Lexus Stakes win and subsequent ballot exemption for Cismontane.
The in-form High Chaparral five-year-old likely ended the Group 1 $6.25 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) dream for the William Mullins-trained Irish raider Thomas Hobson who was No. 24 on the order of entry at the start of Victoria Derby Day.
Thomas Hobson has been pushed outside the top 24 with Cismontane exempt from ballot and penalty for next Tuesday’s classic following his narrow Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) win at Flemington.
On the quick turnaround after holding for third in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) last weekend, Cismontane was again left alone up front rolling along setting a solid pace in the Lexus Stakes.
Jockey Stephen Baster retained the ride on the tough gelding and likely 2017 Melbourne Cup pacemaker, letting Cismontane do his thing in the lead today.
The Robert Hickmott-trained Aloft settled third then second, putting the pressure on the front runner at the mile.
Waterhouse & Adrian Bott’s other runner Ecuador, not nominated for the Melbourne Cup, was third on the inside of the Geelong Cup winner Vengeur Masque.
Cismontane extended his lead and was out clear by five lengths at the 1000m, holding to lead the field into the turn.
Race favourite from the Lindsay Park stable Harlem, having passed a Saturday morning fitness examination by RV stewards, hooked to the outside at the top of the straight looking for his run.
The challengers came from the 450m, but by the 250m Cismontane gave a kick and really dug in for the fight.
The Michael Moroney-trained Vengeur Masque levelled up to him and Pentathlon was flying down the outside late, but Cismontane held them all at bay.
In the end Cismontane worked his way into the Melbourne Cup field with Vengeur Masque (2nd) and the John Wheeler-trained Pentathlon (3rd) rounding out the Lexus Stakes trifecta.
It was a very strong staying performance from the Lexus Stakes winner and a gutsy ride from Baster who enjoyed his first Derby Day win for 17 years.
“He was tough,” Baster said.
“We went out with a plan to let him roll, that’s his strategy.
“When they got to me he kicked again, he’s a tough bugger.
“I wanted them to work to get to me.
“Adrian & Gai have done a great job with him, he’s fit and tough.
“He’s just improved out of sight the team have done such an amazing job with him.”
Before the Lexus Stakes results Cismontane was a $301 triple figure outsider in pre-field Melbourne Cup odds.
He has been slashed into $41 in the latest Melbourne Cup betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au to give Waterhouse her second win after the success of the 2013 favourite Fiorente.
“He’s incredible, I thought he was gone there on numerous occasions on the straight,” co-trainer Bott said post win.
“He was very strong late…he’s just starting to put it all together at the right time.
“He’s an incredibly tough horse, just fantastic to see.”
When asked if Cismontane had what it takes to win the Melbourne Cup, Waterhouse declared: “He’s in it! No one thought he would win today!”
Check out the updated Melbourne Cup 2017 betting odds and the latest odds on Cismontane to do the Lexus Stakes – Melbourne Cup double for the first time since Shocking (2009) now at Ladbrokes.com.au.
2017 Lexus Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Flemington Race 4 – 04/11/2017
|1||7||CISMONTANE (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Stephen Baster||–||6||54kg|
|2||6||VENGEUR MASQUE (IRE)||Michael Moroney||Patrick Moloney||0.2L||8||54kg|
|3||8||PENTATHLON (NZ)||John Wheeler||Jye McNeil||0.3L||10||54kg|
|4||9||ALWARD (IRE)||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||2.3L||7||54kg|
|5||3||HAVANA COOLER (IRE)||James Cummings||Hugh Bowman||6.05L||3||56kg|
|6||2||HARLEM (GB)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Dwayne Dunn||6.8L||4||57kg|
|7||4||ALOFT (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Ben Melham||7.3L||5||55.5kg|
|8||1||ECUADOR (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Adam Hyeronimus||9.55L||1||58kg|
|9||10||KELLSTORM (IRE)||Darren Weir||Ben Allen (a)||13.8L||9||54kg|
|10||5||GUARDINI (FR)||Darren Weir||James Winks||20.8L||2||55.5kg|
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