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British-based Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby has a big decision to make on whether to back-up today’s impressive Bendigo Cup 2017 winner Qewy into the Melbourne Cup field next Tuesday.
Now a winner of three of his four starts down under after a gutsy first-up success in the Group 3 $300,000 Bendigo Cup (2400m) this afternoon, Qewy held off a late challenge from Kiwia to salute with the 59kg top weight.
It was the second time in as many years Appleby trained the Bendigo Cup winner after the stable’s 2016 success with the Kerrin McEvoy-ridden Francis Of Assisi (2016).
Francis Of Assisi went on to win the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) on Emirates Stakes Day at Flemington after being balloted out of the Melbourne Cup field.
There is no danger of Street Cry eight-year-old Qewy not getting a start in the capacity 24 horse field for the Group 1 $6.25 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 7.
The powerhouse stayer is sitting inside the top 24 on the latest order of entry in 22nd position, but until today was listed as an unlikely final acceptor for the ‘Race That Stops The Nation’.
Qewy ($2.45) only had a narrow margin to spare on the line over the progressive Darren Weir-trained favourite Kiwia ($2.40), but it was a big effort giving the runner-up three kilos.
The Bendigo Cup results also set a new race record with Qewy winning in 2:27.50.
That beat the previous record of 2:27.97 set by Puissance De Lune in October of 2012.
Appleby’s travelling foreman Chris Connett said the decision on whether to press onto Melbourne Cup Day with Qewy would be made within the next couple of days, depending on how the horse came through his Bendigo Cup run.
“It’s great to be back here at Bendigo and for Qewy to go on and win like he did, it was great,” he said.
“There were a couple of moments, heart in mouth, but he stays all day and shows his heart and ran all the way to the line so we’re really happy.
“Charlie will have a think and make the decision, but we’ll make sure he pulls up fine.
“The second horse (Kiwia) is a nice progressive horse.”
McEvoy was also aboard for the 2017 Bendigo Cup win after his success on Francis Of Assisi last spring, riding Qewy for a third time.
He partnered the gelding for wins in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) last October and the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) over the two miles.
Between those two Melbourne victories Qewy was ridden to fourth in the Melbourne Cup results by Craig Williams, while McEvoy took out the two mile classic aboard the Lloyd Williams-raced winner Almandin.
McEvoy had Qewy settled fourth off the fence in the Bendigo Cup today with the Pat Carey-trained Khartoum leading the field around at an even tempo.
The Damian Lane-ridden Kiwia, coming off a lead-up Group 3 Coongy Cup (2000m) win on Caulfield Cup Day, was second last just behind the Robert Hickmott-trained The Metropolitan winner Foundry who was on the fence switched off nicely in fifth.
Approaching the turn, Qewy was on the move three out and he got to the front on the straight.
Kiwia got to the outside and emerged as the challenger, moving up to Qewy and turning the finish into a two horse race over the final 200m.
The two favourites fought it out, but Qewy was too strong and held for the win, while Foundry rounded out the Bendigo Cup trifecta in a distant third over four lengths off the winner.
“It’s nice to get on the back of this horse again,” winning hoop McEvoy said.
“He had a great run in the Melbourne Cup [last year] so pleased to see him back to his best form and win here again today.
“He stays so well and he’ll come on from the run no doubt.”
McEvoy, who rides German raider Red Cardinal in the 2017 Melbourne Cup field, rated Qewy a top 10 chance in the world’s richest handicap should Godolphin decide to run.
“He lacks a bit of brilliance, but he tries hard and stays so well,” the dual Melbourne Cup winning jockey said.
“So he’d have to be a top ten chance in the Cup.”
The latest all-in Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au list Qewy as a $26 chance with the reigning champion Almandin the $6.50 favourite.
See below for the official Bendigo Cup 2017 results before checking out the updated Melbourne Cup betting markets available online through Ladbrokes.com.au.
2017 Bendigo Cup Results & Finishing Order
Bendigo Race 8 – 01/11/2017
|1||1||QEWY (IRE)||Charlie Appleby||Kerrin McEvoy||–||2||59kg||$2.50|
|2||3||KIWIA||Darren Weir||Damian Lane||0.2L||5||56kg||$2.40F|
|3||2||FOUNDRY (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Michael Dee||4.45L||1||57.5kg||$9.50|
|4||6||SKULDUGGERY||Shawn Mathrick||Stephen Baster||7.45L||7||54kg||$101|
|5||7||KHARTOUM||Pat Carey||Patrick Moloney||7.55L||4||54kg||$41|
|6||4||BIG MEMORY (FR)||Tony McEvoy||Andrew Mallyon||7.65L||3||55.5kg||$8|
|7||5||MEET AND GREET||Chris Meagher||Noel Callow||8.9L||6||54kg||$21|
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