Excess Knowledge earnt the final place in the 2015 Melbourne Cup field with a narrow victory in the Lexus Stakes at Flemington this afternoon.
Excess Knowledge was well-backed in the lead-up to the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m), but the promising import was caught three wide in the early stages of the race, while stablemate Bohemian Lily took up the running in the early stages.
Dunn made his move a long way from home in the Lexus Stakes and Excess Knowledge hit the front at the top of the straight, but he was challenge by Darren Weir-trained Zanteca, who looked as though she may have stolen the win.
Gai Waterhouse in the stands looked as though she would be sick as she wanted for the judges decision, but he was awarded the decision and delivered a ballot-exempt entry into the Melbourne Cup.
The drama did not end there as jockey Damian Lane, the rider of Zanteca, immediately lodged a protest on behalf of connections and argued that Excess Knowledge laid on his horse from the 150 metre mark and cost her victory.
“Around the home turn I was travelling very well and approaching the 250 metres the run presented to the inside of Excess Knowledge and I had clear galloping room,” Lane said.
“She began to surge, Excess Knowledge than laid on top of me getting me unbalanced and then got in on top of her again and tightened her for room.
“In this space, I only hit her once and I believe that she was responding very well to the whip at the time.
“In the last 75 to 50 metres in the run, she gets her entitled room and rallies to the line to get beat by a short-half head.”
Dunn admitted in the stewards room that Excess Knowledge want to lay left in the Lexus Stakes, but he was adamant that at no stage was Lane forced to stop riding Zanteca and he was confident the placings would not be reversed if Excess Knowledge had continue to run in a straight line.
“I think that you can clearly see that Excess Knowledge wants to lay left, but never at any stage impedes on Zanteca and we never even come together,” Dunn said.
“Damian Lane is able to ride his mount in a full position the whole way out up the straight, he always had running to the inside and he was always able to maintain his rhythm and I believe that the right result.”
Earlier, an extremely excited Waterhouse could not contain her delight that Excess Knowledge had won the Lexus Stakes and would get an opportunity in the Melbourne Cup.
Waterhouse is never shy at pushing the chances of her runners and she encouraged punters to get on Excess Knowledge in 2015 Melbourne Cup betting markets.
“I couldn’t train him any better, but in that final furlong I have never ridden a horse so had in my life – I’ll probably be pulled in front of the stewards,” Waterhouse said.
“He is such a good stayer and he is so well-weighted in this cup.
“Is he starting, yes he is and will he win, yes he will.
Excess Knowledge is currently available at 2015 Melbourne Cup odds of $21 with Ladbrokes, while Fame Game ($3.80) remains a dominant favourite from Trip To Paris ($8), Preferment ($9) and Amralah ($13).