The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Goliath owner Lloyd Williams is likely to get a shot at his incredible eighth Melbourne Cup trophy with Cleveland who won Friday night’s Group 2 Ladbrokes Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m).
A key lead-up to the ‘race that stops a nation’ took place under the lights on Cox Plate Eve and the first four over the line in this year’s Moonee Valley Gold Cup results are all safely inside the top 24 on the Melbourne Cup order of entry.
The Kris Lees-trained Cleveland produced a powerhouse finish to beat home 2019 Melbourne Cup champion Vow And Declare by three-quarters of a length in the $750,000 feature.
Future History snared third just a neck further back for Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, while Grahame Begg’s beaten favourite Lunar Flare ran fourth with excuses after getting held up for a run, with both already exempt from ballot.
Lunar Flare was subsequently retired the next morning after suffering a career-ending injury putting an end to the Melbourne Cup dream for the classy mare. Click here to read more.
The runner-up, Vow And Declare, is currently 13th on the order of entry for the Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Trainer Danny O’Brien has all but confirmed his veteran eight-year-old will chase a second Melbourne Cup victory when lining-up in Australia’s most famous race for the fourth straight year at Flemington on November 7.
“He doesn’t corner super well here, but he’s come up in really good order. He backed up his run in the Caulfield Stakes with another good run,” O’Brien said of Vow And Declare after Friday night’s performance.
“We’ll think seriously about it as he has 53.5 kilos at Flemington and he’s a much better horse there.”
Irish-bred Camelot six-year-old Cleveland meanwhile is 23rd on the Melbourne Cup ballot after the withdrawal of Chris Waller’s Caulfield Cup flop Francesco Guardi.
The entire has 51.5kg but could receive a subsequent penalty by RV Handicapper David Hegan for his Moonee Valley Gold Cup win.
The Newcastle-based galloper travelled south off a number of Sydney lead-up runs including a sixth to Just Fine in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) in September and distant second in the $500,000 St Leger (2600m) behind Land Legend on October 14.
“He’s just taken little improvement out of every run. We decided to take the blinkers back off today and I thought he reacted really well,” Lees, who took over training the horse back in the winter, told Racing.com.
In the Moonee Valley Gold Cup Cleveland had the blinkers off and was given a perfect off-speed ride by James McDonald who worked his way into the finish at exactly the right time.
“He curled up on the bend and gave a great turn of foot, he felt excellent. Onwards and upwards,” the winning hoop said.
Cleveland is into $26 in the latest all-in Melbourne Cup betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au, the same price as Future History and Vow And Declare.
The 2023 Melbourne Cup third acceptances close on Monday, October 30.
Click here for the latest pre-field Melbourne Cup odds.
2023 Moonee Valley Gold Cup Results & Finishing Order
|1||12||CLEVELAND (IRE)||Kris Lees||James McDonald||9||55kg (cd 55.5kg)||$6.50|
|2||3||VOW AND DECLARE||Danny O’Brien||Billy Egan||0.75L||11||57kg||$6.50|
|3||7||FUTURE HISTORY (GB)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Craig Williams||0.85L||13||56kg||$7.50|
|4||14||LUNAR FLARE||Grahame Begg||Michael Dee||1.25L||3||54.5kg||$3.90F|
|5||15||SO DAZZLING (NZ)||John Sargent||Dean Yendall||1.45L||8||51kg||$51|
|6||8||REGAL POWER||John Leek (Jnr)||Wiremu Pinn (a)||1.65L||2||55kg||$51|
|7||4||ATHABASCAN (FR)||John O’Shea||Damian Lane||1.85L||1||56.5kg||$5.50|
|8||11||SHERAZ (FR)||Chris Waller||Jye McNeil||1.95L||4||55kg||$19|
|9||2||ALENQUER (FR)||Michael Moroney||Damien Oliver||3.45L||12||58kg||$26|
|10||10||TRUE MARVEL (FR)||Matthew Smith||Ms Carleen Hefel (a)||3.55L||10||55kg||$101|
|11||5||FANCY MAN (IRE)||Annabel Neasham||Jamie Mott||3.75L||14||56.5kg||$21|
|12||9||EL BODEGON (IRE)||Chris Waller||Zac Lloyd (a)||6L||6||55kg||$13|
|13||6||MOUNT POPA (IRE)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Beau Mertens||6.4L||5||56kg||$81|
|14||1||KNIGHTS ORDER (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Jordan Childs||8.15L||7||58kg||$21|
|13||INTERPRETATION (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Blake Shinn||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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