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
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.
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.
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.