A Melbourne Cup start for the David Hayes trained Jet Away will depend on whether new jockey Glen Boss can get the import to win the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Boss takes over from Damien Oliver on Saturday after the English import ran a mighty race to finish fourth to Fawkner in the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 19.
Oliver had to let Jet Away make a long sweeping run around the field from the 1200m when the seven year old wouldn’t settle and after challenging for the lead on the home turn fought on tenaciously to just miss a place.
Hayes was then looking for a change of jockey with his star apprentice Chad Schofield in the mix for the ride before getting suspended for eight meetings for careless riding at Moonee Valley last Friday night.
Schofield went on the win the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday on Shamus Award and will be back to ride on Melbourne Cup day.
Jet Away is number thirty in the order of entry after second acceptances for the Group 1 $6.2m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday and will have to win the Mackinnon on Saturday to gain automatic entry into the race that stops the nation.
Hayes has Jet Away back on top of his game after facing some fitness problems early in his preparation and the seven year old has continued to improve since his Caulfield Cup run.
“You will see a better horse than in the Caulfield Cup,” Hayes said.
“He’s ticked along normally and will have a gallop at Euroa on Tuesday and then he will come down to the Flemington stables on Thursday night,” Hayes told Racing Network.
With Puissance De Lune out the Melbourne Cup picture, Boss will be free to ride Jet Away in the Melbourne Cup if he happens to win the Mackinnon on Saturday.
Boss had been committed to ride the Darren Weir trained Puissance De Lune all through the Spring but after pulling up lame in the Cox Plate, the giant grey will now be sent to the paddock with a possible stud career ahead.
The Mackinnon is shaping up as an intriguing contest with several other runners looking to gain a last minute entry into the Melbourne Cup field as well as genuine weight for age performers lining up.
Last Saturday’s Drake International Cup winner Precedence could be Bart Cummings’ eighty-eighth Melbourne Cup runner if he can win the Mackinnon Stakes and be exempt from the ballot while Cox Plate runner up Happy Trails looks the one to beat after going down by a nose on Saturday.