Lexus Stakes 2018: Who will make the Melbourne Cup final field?

Trainer Gai Waterhouse with the trophy after Cismontane (NZ) won the Lexus Stakes at Flemington Racecourse on November 04, 2017 in Flemington, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

IT’S last chance saloon for horses looking to get a ballot exemption for next Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup on Saturday.

The Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) is the last ballot exempt race heading into the Cup, and there’s a number of runners in particular that need to win to get their names into the race that stops a nation.

There are 47 horses remaining in the hunt for the $7.3 million Cup and only three of those – Azuro, Sixties Groove and Thinkin’ Big – have not met the qualifying conditions for the race.

  • The team at Horse Betting took a look at the three Cup contenders running on Saturday’s Lexus that currently either haven’t completed the ballot requirements, or are so far down the order that they need to gain the exempt status.

    A Prince Of Arran

    Prince of Arran (NZ) ridden by Patrick Moloney returns to the mounting yard after winning the Sam Miranda Wines Maiden Plate on October 31, 2017 in Benalla, Australia. (David Thorpe/Racing Photos)

    Trainer: Charlie Fellowes
    Jockey: Michael Walker
    Last Five Races: 632X3
    Order of Entry position: 28
    Lexus Stakes odds: $4.50 at BetEasy

    Sitting just outside the top 24 in the Melbourne Cup order of entry, it looks like Charlie Fellowes-trained galloper A Prince Of Arran will need to win the Lexus to get through to the big one.

    The British import rounded out the placings in a brilliant first-up run in the Herbert Power Stakes, finishing behind Brimham Rocks and tearaway winner, $4.50 Melbourne Cup favourite Yucatan.

    The six-year-old looks in great order heading into the Lexus and will be the horse to beat heading into the ballot exempt earning event.

    Sixties Groove

    Sixties Groove (pictured) needs to win the Lexus Stakes to gain entry into the Melbourne Cup. (Leonie Grbic/Racing Photos)

    Trainer: Darren Weir
    Jockey: Craig Williams
    Last Five Races: 21131
    Order of Entry position: Not yet passed ballot
    Lexus Stakes odds: $8.50 at Sportsbet

    The Darren Weir-trained Sixties Groove has seen plenty of action in the lead up to this year’s Melbourne Cup.

    A $1000 bet with the TAB has seen the horse move from $201 into $101 for the Cup, and with good reason. While the horse has not passed the initial requirements to run in the big one, a win on Saturday hands Sixties Groove a ballot exemption.

    The six-year-old comes into the race after winning the Moe Cup, and has registered wins in three of his last four races. This race appears within Sixties Groove’s grasp and we’re not discounting his chances on Tuesday if he wins.

    Yogi

    Yogi (yellow silks) ridden by John Allen wins the 1 Oliver St Plate at Flemington Racecourse on August 05, 2017 in Flemington, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

    Trainer: Darren Weir
    Jockey: Dean Yendall
    Last Five Races: 22630
    Order of Entry position: 41
    Lexus Stakes odds: $12 at Ladbrokes

    There was a lot of buzz around Yogi coming towards the Melbourne Cup, and while the recent form reads well enough with three placings from five runs, the last start 11th at Geelong was disappointing.

    There was talk that the addition of blinkers was in the kit bag for team Weir if Yogi makes the Cup, but will DK pull the trigger earlier on the gear change? We doubt it, but don’t rule it out.

    Yogi has a double figure price based on the Geelong Cup run, and we feel the price is right. The Kiwi will need to lift considerably to be a player here.