The airborne Kelly Schweida-trained...
Jockey Patrick Moloney is confident he can produce Vengeur Masque for a win in Saturday’s Lexus Stakes earning the Geelong Cup winner a spot in the Melbourne Cup 2017 field.
The Michael Moroney-trained European import is currently in 30th spot on the latest order of entry for next Tuesday’s Group 1 $6.25 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
A capacity 24 Melbourne Cup horses can make the starting line-up in the famous Flemington Race 7 and this Saturday’s Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) is the final call for eleventh hour hopefuls.
Offering a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption to the winner, the Lexus Stakes drew 10 runners this VRC Derby Day with all but two fighting to make the Melbourne Cup field.
Monsun six-year-old Vengeur Masque finally broke his maiden status down under on October 25 with a tight win in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m).
That was an improved effort on the lead-up eighth behind the Darren Weir-trained mare Amelie’s Star in the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington, a race he finished fourth behind subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Almandin in last spring.
Moloney has partnered Vengeur Masque for 10 of his 12 Australian starts going back to August 2016 and has gained confidence heading into the Lexus Stakes after the Geelong Cup success.
“If he runs up to his Geelong Cup win, I can’t see why he wouldn’t be winning again on Saturday,” he told Racing Victoria.
Getting in on the 54kg minimum again, the horse pays $7 in a wide-open Lexus Stakes betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Eight of the Lexus Stakes horses are under $10 for the win with the Lindsay Park-trained Harlem the $4.20 firming favourite.
Should Harlem salute for the punters and dominate the Lexus Stakes results, he will join stablemates Boom Time and Ventura Storm as the three chances for the stable in the 2017 Melbourne Cup field.
“At the moment we’re hoping to have three in the Cup,” co-trainer Ben Hayes said.
“Harlem looks like just not getting in so we’ve got to go for the Lexus with him.
“I don’t mind him running in the Lexus.
“I think he’ll need the run and if he wins he’ll be spot-on for the Cup.”
Winner of the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 23, Harlem then ran fifth in The Bart Cummings before his eighth place run in the Caulfield Cup last start.
Boom Time backs-up out of a shock Caulfield Cup win at 50/1 odds with Cory Parish retaining the ride, while Ventura Storm has Glen Boss coming aboard in place of the suspended young jockey Regan Bayliss.
All-in Melbourne Cup odds have Vengeur Masque listed as an $81 roughie and the import is allocated 50.5kg for the two mile classic, which includes his half-kilo penalty for the Geelong Cup victory.
To lock in your early Melbourne Cup 2017 betting predictions at the right price visit Ladbrokes.com.au now.
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