Caravan Rolls On is currently 27th in the 2014 Melbourne Cup order of entry, but trainer Danny O’Brien will not be relying on attrition to get the imported stayer into ‘the race that stops a nation’ and the Geelong Cup winner is set to run in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Caravan Rolls On recorded his second race win in Australia when he produced a tough staying performance to take out the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) last Wednesday and was allocated a one and a half kilogram penalty from Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter, but that was not enough to secure the Hernando entire a place in the 2014 Melbourne Cup field.
The surprise withdrawal of early favourite The Offer got Caravan Rolls On one place closer to a Melbourne Cup start, but O’Brien feels that it is unlikely there will be enough horses drop out of the race for the six-year-old to be assured of a start without winning the Lexus Stakes.
“I think it would be an outside hope for him to get a run unless there is significant attrition, so at this stage he will definitely be running in the Lexus,” O’Brien told Racing.com.
“In saying that, if he can’t win the Lexus he probably can’t win the Melbourne Cup.”
Caravan Rolls On has never previously been asked to back-up just three days after a race start, but O’Brien confirmed that he would have no hesitation running the tough stayer in the Melbourne Cup if he won the Lexus Stakes on Saturday.
Last year’s Lexus Stakes winner Ruscello failed to fire in the Melbourne Cup, but the likes of Shocking (first in 2009), Maluckyday (second in 2010) and Kelinni (fourth in 2012) have all performed well in the Melbourne Cup after taking out the Lexus Stakes, which O’Brien believes that Caravan Rolls On is capable of replicating.
“It’s an achievable aim and for a horse trained here at Flemington it’s probably a bit easier,” O’Brien said.
“There’s good improvement in the horse (since his Geelong Cup win) and certainly to my eye, he looks to have made it.
“He’s a very happy horse and we’re expecting to run very well in whatever he steps out in next.”
O’Brien is hoping to have his first runner in the Melbourne Cup since Shamrocker finished 21st behind Dunaden in the 2011 edition of the race.
Caravan Rolls On is currently available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $34.