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Jockey Mark Zahra looks likely to keep the ride on Ventura Storm in the 2018 Melbourne Cup after they combined for a win in the Group 2 $500,000 McCafe Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) at The Valley today.
Lindsay Park’s head trainer David Hayes is confident that Ventura Storm will make the final twenty-four horse field of the Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6 after today’s tough staying performance.
Ventura Storm is currently number twenty-seven in the Melbourne Cup order of entry and a possible weight penalty for today’s win will find him a place in the final field.
“He got a perfect ride, he has been gelded and had a wind op,” Hayes said.
“He is going to win plenty of races now, we have worked him out.”
“He went so well for Mark (Zahra). He is pretty well in the race and with a light weight and he will run two miles. We have a really excited ten days ahead.”
Ventura Storm had struggled to find the winner’s stall since arriving in Australia twelve months ago but today repaid his staunch followers who backed him into the $5.50 second favourite.
Mark Zahra had the European import close to the speed for the entire race but had to work hard in the straight to overhaul the leader Trap For Fools ($10) who held on for second.
The Chris Waller trained Libran ($13) ran on for third just in front of his stablemate Who Shot Thebarman ($26).
The $3.80 favourite The Taj Mahal was caught wide for most of the way from a wide barrier and after attacking the leaders approaching the home turn, faded in the straight to finish ninth.
Ventura Storm has firmed in from $101 to be a $34 chance for the Melbourne Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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