The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The Melbourne Cup field will be all but be decided once the Lexus Stakes 2017 is run and won at Flemington on Saturday afternoon, betting tips and the latest odds on the important staying showdown found below.
A ballot free ride into the Group 1 $6.25 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) is on offer to the winner of the Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) on Derby Day and Shocking (2009) was the last to do the double.
Eight of the 10 Lexus Stakes contenders this year are Melbourne Cup nominated and need to win to make the 24 starter field for the ‘Race That Stops A Nation’ next Tuesday.
Favourite to do so in the latest Lexus Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au and join the fellow Lindsay Park-trained Melbourne Cup runners Boom Time and Ventura Storm is Harlem ($3.80).
Aloft for last year’s Melbourne Cup winning owner Lloyd Williams and trainer Robert Hickmott is the next best fancied at $5.50 in Lexus Stakes betting despite a last start ninth in the Group 2 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes (2400m).
So will the best two in betting battle it out for the Melbourne Cup start or is there better fancied Lexus Stakes bet to make this spring with the likes of Geelong Cup winner Vengeur Masque ($7) and last Saturday’s Moonee Valley Gold Cup third-placed Cismontane ($9) presenting with genuine claims?
#4 Aloft ($5.50)
Happy to forgive and forget the run of Aloft in the Herbert Power Stakes last time out. Nothing went right at Caulfield that day and back to Flemington this proven two-miler is a livewire chance to add a possible seventh Melbourne Cup horse to the Williams’ contingent. Has excellent form at the track (4:2-0-1) including the close third behind last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Almandin in the JRA Trophy (2500m) two back. Ultra-consistent in the autumn, Ben Melham aboard, can bounce back.
#10 Kellstorm ($7.50)
Another genuine Flemington horse being kept safe in betting returning to Headquarters. Darren Weir-trained Galileo stallion who was under two lengths beaten in the Geelong Cup last start. Before that was third at this track / distance in the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) finishing ahead of Almandin (4th) and Harlem (5th). On the minimum weight and has strong formlines for this.
#6 Vengeur Masque ($7)
Geelong Cup winner prepared by Michael Moroney looking to go back-to-back. Has won over the 2500m and has the confidence of jockey Patrick Moloney. Was a bit disappointing in The Bart Cummings (8th), but presents fit and is as good a chance as any in an open affair with the pressure of the Melbourne Cup spot ensuring a thriller.
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