The Melbourne Cup is still alive for Ibicenco after the Peter Moody trained stayer took out the Group 3 $300,000 Sportingbet Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong today.
Ibicenco is currently forty second in the order of entry with 52kgs in the Group 1 $6.2m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5 and Moody will be sweating on a penalty from Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter to elevate the six year old up the list in order to gain a start.
“He’s done a good job. I think the horse goes better on top of the ground so it’s encouraging to see him tough it out under those conditions,” Moody said.
“He’s a genuine two miler plus this horse, so let’s hope Mister Carpenter was impressed enough for the horse under unsuitable conditions for the Cup now.
“This has been a tremendous Melbourne Cup guide for the last sort of decade so let’s hope it continues.”
Moody said that he will take the chance of Ibicenco making the final Melbourne Cup field and won’t run the import again before November 5.
“He wouldn’t run again, he will go straight into the race. I think he has done his job, he has won two stakes races this time around and that should be sufficient to get him into the race,” Moody said.
Ben Melham on Verdant ($8) tried to lead all of the way but was out plugged by Ibicecno ($5.50 ) by a neck on the heavy 9 track with Moudre ($6.50) also making up ground to finish in third spot.
A Melbourne Cup run now looks unlikely for English visitor Forgotten Voice ($3.50 favourite) who was in a winning position on the turn but failed to run on in the wet conditions to finish fifth.
Today’s win was Ibicenco’s first on a heavy track and he responded well to Brad Rawiller’s hard riding over the final 300m to wear down the leader, Verdant, who was also brave right to the line.
The Geelong Cup has been a good pointer for the Melbourne Cup over recent years with Media Puzzle winning the double in 2002 and that was repeated by Americain and Dunaden in 2010 and 2011.