The Tulloch Lodge Team of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott will have a runner in the 2017 Melbourne Cup after Cismontane led all of the way to win the Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington today.
By winning the Lexus Stakes, Cismontane qualifies to take a place in the twenty-four horse field for the Group 1 $6.25m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.
The final Field for the Melbourne Cup will be released this afternoon.
Winning jokey Stephen Baster had no hesitation in taking Cismontane straight to the front from the outset and increased his lead in the middle stages to about five lengths when he let the five year old run along.
Baster still had control of the field heading into the home straight and just when it looked like he was ready to compound Cismontane ($16) found plenty of reserves to hold off the well fancied Vengeur Masque ($5).
The John Wheeler trained Pentathlon ($81) loomed up dangerously at the 250m but couldn’t get past the first and second placegetters to finish third.
The $3.90 favourite Harlem settled near the tail of the field but was never a real challenger in the straight and finished sixth.
Co-trainer Adrian Bott said that Cismontane had finally put it all together and would now take his pace in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
“He is incredible. I thought he was gone there on numerous occasions throughout the straight but he kept fighting, digging in deep and very strong late.”
“He is really only just learning what it is all about now and he is just starting to put it all together at the right time.”
“Steve got him into a beautiful rhythm today, he was able to get his own way in front, he was doing it comfortably.”
“At the top of the straight I thought we were in a little bit of strife but he is just an incredibly tough horse and fantastic to see.”
Cismontane has now firmed in from $301 to be a $41 chance for the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.