Early favourite The United States has gained a start in the Group 3 $150,000 Bendigo Bank East Malvern MRC Foundation Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday following the scratching of Banca Mo this morning.
The winner of the Foundation Cup, formerly known as the Naturalism Stakes, is exempt from the ballot for the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 17.
The in-form Irish import was in danger of missing his chance to gain automatic entry into the 2400m Spring Carnival Feature when he was relegated to first emergency for the Foundation Cup at acceptance time on Wednesday.
But with the withdrawal of Banca Mo, the Robert Hickmott trained stayer will take his place in the field as the $4.20 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au.
The lightly raced The United States won three races in Ireland before being purchased by prominent owner Lloyd Williams and a group of partners and the six year old was able to find the winner’s stall for the first time on Australian soil two starts back in $90,000 Sweeney Estate Agents Handicap (1500m) at Moonee Valley on August 22.
At his next outing the Galileo stallion was narrowly beaten when second to Chance To Dance at Moonee Valley again over 1600m in the $90,000 1PRINT Craig Opie Cup on September 5.
Damian Lane has been aboard The United States at his two runs this campaign and has the ride again in the Foundation Cup.
A win by The United States in the Foundation Cup will see his Caulfield Cup price of $26 shorten significantly.
Foundation Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.20 The United States, $5.50 Sertorius, $6 Magnapal, $7 Kapour, $8 Bold Sniper, $8.50 Our Ivanhowe, $13 Taiyoo, $15 Almoonqith, Let’s Make Adeal, $17 Our Voodoo Prince, Lord Durante, $18 Prince Cheri, $21 Hawkspur, $26 La Amistad, Cafe Society, $31 Genuine Lad, $51 Sonntag, Like A Carousel, $81 Ethiopia.