Amade set for light winter en route to 2021 Melbourne Cup

Amade wins at Flemington
, ridden by Ben Allen, wins the William Newton VC Handicap at . (George Salpigtidis/Racing Photos)

With the first entrant confirmed into the 2021 Melbourne Cup to be confirmed on Saturday afternoon in the Stakes at Flemington, the best locally trained chance is set to be on light duties between now and the spring.

The Phillip Stokes-trained Amade is on the third line of Melbourne Cup betting, with online bookmakers pricing the seven-year-old gelding as a $21 chance behind Prince Of Arran and Tiger Moth in the all-in market elects six months out from the race that stops the nation.

Amade is not eligible to compete in Stakes, which is restricted to horses that are three, four, or five years old, and Stokes has revealed that his runner will be kept in light work throughout the winter months.

The son of Casamento was last seen winning the William Newton VC Handicap on over 2600m at Flemington in a performance that rocketed him to the upper echelon of this year’s Melbourne Cup fancies.

“He’s an exciting horse who we would love to get to a Melbourne Cup,” Stokes said.

Amade had originally been purchased by OTI Racing to compete in the 2019 Melbourne Cup following a strong win in the Group 2 in New York 18 months ago, but injuries have restricted him to just the two starts since then.

Connections were rewarded for their patience with a dominant last-start win at Flemington in which the American import accounted for likely Andrew Ramsden starters Persan and Mohican Heights.

With Amade staying at home this weekend, Stokes’ highlight for the weekend will be his filly Instant Celebrity taking her spot in The Goodwood on Saturday at Morphettville.

The filly will receive the services of Jamie Kah for the first time in her career, with regular jockey Craig Williams booked to ride race favourite Behemoth in the 1200m Group 1 sprint worth $1,000,000.

“She’s going great, and while this is going to be tougher, good fillies run well in this race and I think she will too,” Stokes said when questioned about Instant Celebrity’s chances on Saturday.

Stokes also confirmed that will go to the Stradbroke Handicap on June 12 at . The five-year-old gelding is currently a $15 chance in all-in markets for the 1400m Group 1 race.

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