English stayer Fox Hunt has taken his first steps towards a Melbourne Cup start this November after winning the Group 3 German St Leger in Europe last weekend for trainer Mark Johnston.
Johnson said that while the race field wasn’t a strong one, Fox Hunt was just there to pass the first conditions of gaining entry into the Melbourne Cup ballot.
“It was a Group 3 race and that just about sums it up really,” he said.
“I think on ratings he was just about top rated.
“He was there really to get the Group win.
“He had to get that under his belt to satisfy the Melbourne Cup conditions.”
Fox Hunt, who will receive a 0.5 kilogram penalty or his German St Leger win, is currently in a good position to gain entry into the $6.2 million race.
“The biggest issue is if he’s guaranteed to get a run or not,” Johnston said.
“He has some very good options.
“I wouldn’t want to be bringing him if I wasn’t confident he was going to get in.
“Having said that it looks he’s in a fairly strong position.”
The trainer will also run Irish St Leger winner Jukebox Jury in this year’s Melbourne Cup.
“Everything’s on track, he definitely goes into quarantine on the 28th September,” Johnston said.
“There’s no questions about him, he’s (en route) to the Melbourne Cup.”
While he is a confirmed starter, Johnston realises Jukebox Jury would have to excel further than ever before to win the Melbourne Cup.
“Jukebox Jury would have to run beyond anything he’s done before on bare ratings,” he said.
“Having said that, he’s in the form of his life.
“He’s won extremely consistently this year.
“I wouldn’t be worrying too much about the opposition but whether he can handle to pace of the race and obviously the trip to the other side of the world.”