The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Trainer Grahame Begg is in with his first shot at the world’s richest handicap race with his quality mare Lunar Flare on track for the Group 1 $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) after her 2022 The Bart Cummings victory on Turnbull Stakes Day.
The seven-year-old daughter of Fiorente enjoyed her first victory since taking out last October’s Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) when improving on her lead-up sixth in the Naturalism to win the Group 3 $750,000 The Bart Cummings (2510m).
“Not many horses pass her in the straight,” Begg said after the win.
“She got a great run and the barrier helped her a lot I guess.
“She’s come up really good this time.”
The mare was away well and showed early pace to hit the lead early before settling just back off the pace set by Serpentine, the former English Derby winner leading the field of Melbourne Cup hopefuls around in the ballot exemption race.
It was a tightly-packed bunch around the bend as Midnight Blue moved up to sprint to the front on the straight, but jockey Michael Dee was quickly on the scene aboard the eventual winner.
Lunar Flare came with a terrific late run and took the lead 100m out from the line to hold off the fast-finishing Chris Waller-trained Francesco Guardi who was excellent from the back.
It was the fourth time since 2004 the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield had delivered The Bart Cummings winner with the Melbourne form stacking up once again.
Also strong through the line to round out The Bart Cummings trifecta after box seating third was the beaten favourite Interpretation.
Lunar Flare was already assured of a run in the 24-horse Melbourne Cup field having been number 21 on the order of entry following the second declarations.
She will now get into the famous two-mile showdown back at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November carrying just 51kg.
Almandin (2016) was the last horse to complete The Bart Cummings – Melbourne Cup double.
Begg confirmed plans to run Lunar Flare next-up for a title defence in the $1 million Moonee Valley Gold Cup on Manikato Stakes Night.
“This year we set out to have her in the Melbourne Cup, if she’s good enough,” he said.
“She’s fully qualified so that’s terrific.
“Really it’s only her third run up this time in so she’s still peaking and she’ll go to the Moonee Valley Cup in three weeks’ time now.
“She likes that little bit of space into her runs and then it will be 12 days into the Melbourne Cup.”
2022 The Bart Cummings Results & Finishing Order
|1||8||LUNAR FLARE||Grahame Begg||Michael Dee||1||54.5kg||$6.50|
|2||11||FRANCESCO GUARDI (IRE)||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||0.4L||4||54kg||$17|
|3||10||INTERPRETATION (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Craig Williams||0.9L||6||54kg||$4F|
|4||7||MIDNIGHT BLUE||Danny O’Brien||Jye McNeil||1L||7||55.5kg||$18|
|5||2||VOW AND DECLARE||Danny O’Brien||Damian Lane||1.2L||3||58kg||$8|
|6||9||HIGH EMOCEAN (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Harry Coffey||1.4L||10||54kg||$12|
|7||14||TEAM CAPTAIN (IRE)||Matt Cumani||Declan Bates||1.6L||5||54kg||$41|
|8||15||KING OF THE CASTLE (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Ben Melham||2L||9||54kg||$18|
|9||3||SERPENTINE (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Ethan Brown||2.1L||2||57.5kg||$21|
|10||4||DAQIANSWEET JUNIOR (NZ)||Phillip Stokes||Ms Jamie Kah||2.4L||8||57kg||$7|
|11||6||SAN HUBERTO (IRE)||Matt Cumani||Dean Yendall||6.65L||11||56.5kg||$26|
|SB||5||DESERT ICON (FR)||Chris Waller||Brett Prebble||0||57kg|
|1||SHERAZ (FR)||Chris Waller||Damien Oliver||0|
|12||AURORA’S SYMPHONY||Symon Wilde||Daniel Moor||0|
|13||THE GOOD FIGHT (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Daniel Stackhouse||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
Racing fields and data are copyright 2011-2021 © Racing Australia Pty Ltd (RA) (and other parties working with it).
Racing materials, including fields, form and results, is subject to copyright which is owned by RA and other parties working with it. Full copyright notice.