Geelong Cup winner Gatewood will be looking for a last minute Melbourne Cup berth when the English stayer lines up in the Group 3 $250,000 The Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Even though the John Gosden trained stayer received a 1kg penalty for winning the Geelong Cup he is still number thirty-three in the order of entry for the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington next Tuesday after forty-six were left in at second acceptance time today.
Gatewood has also been nominated for Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) which looked the harder option with tough Kiwi galloper Ocean Park likely to back up after winning the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley last Saturday.
The Mackinnon and The Lexus offer last minute chances to gain entry into the Melbourne Cup with both races offering ballot free clauses to the winners for Tuesday’s ‘Race That Stops A Nation’.
OTI Racing’s Terry Henderson said that no firm decision had been made for Gatewood but a win on Saturday would more than likely see the five year old take his place in the field on Tuesday.
“We have to weigh up whether the potential increase of Gatewood’s value as a stallion makes it worth running in the Mackinnon,” Henderson said.
“If we think it isn’t the best option for his Melbourne Cup chances then we will run in the Lexus.
“Backing him up shouldn’t be an issue as he has just come through the run at Geelong so well.”
The Galileo entire was desperately unlucky at his first Australian start when boxed in for most of the race when seventh to fellow international raider Shahwardi in the Group 2 $220,000 Sportingbet Herbert Power (2400m) at Caulfield on October 13 before making amends in winning the Group 3 $300,000 Centrebet Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong on October 24.
Travelling foreman Marcel Keron said that Gatewood has come through his run at Geelong in fine style and is ready to run on Saturday.
“The horse is well, he’s bright. You would not know he’s had a run,” Koren said.
Jockey of the moment Glen Boss will take the ride on Gatewood on Saturday after producing another top class ride to take out the Geelong Cup and will no doubt consider him for a Melbourne Cup mount if he was able to win on Saturday and make the Melbourne Cup field.
“He’s very good on his feet this horse. He’s very nimble. That’s going to take him a long way because you need that type of horse in our hustle-bustle races,” Boss said following the Geelong Cup win.
“He sprinted very quickly then there was a moment there where he just plateaued for about 100 metres.
“Then about 200 metres from the line he just got going again and ran through the line.”
The Mackinnon Stakes has attracted sixteen nominations and as well as Ocean Park, Caulfield Cup runner-up Alcopop and the Mark Kavanagh trained December Draw are among the entries.
While The Lexus has twenty-one entries including the Gai Waterhouse trained Glencadam Gold as well Metropolitan placegetters Rueben Percival and Kelinni whose only chance of a Melbourne Cup start is by winning and gaining an exemption from the ballot.
The 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain has shot to the head of betting at $6 to win his second Cup with Caulfield – Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden being relegated to second favourite at $6.50.
The Luca Cumani trained Mount Athos remains on the third line of betting at $9.50 with Maluckyday and last year’s runner-up Red Cadeaux at $11.
Gatewood is a $26 chance in the latest market.