Trainer Ken Keys is hopeful that tough stayer Like A Carousel can earn a place in the 2015 Melbourne Cup field by winning the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington on October 4.
Like A Carousel produced the best performance of his racing career to date to finish third behind Grand Marshal in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on April 11, but he is still unlikely to be handicapped with enough weight to be guaranteed a start in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Keys told Racing Ahead that the ballot exemption now on offer for the winner of The Bart Cummings makes it the ideal race for Like A Carousel before he presses on to the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day.
“I think that now they have made The Bart Cummings a ballot free race for the Melbourne Cup that is probably the logical one to have a crack at in the early stages and then it will probably be the Moonee Valley Cup into the Melbourne Cup if he ends up getting into the race,” Keys said.
Like A Carousel stamped himself as a stayer to watch when he took out the Listed Harry White Classic (2400m) at Sandown on September 27 and finished in the placings in both the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 22 and the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) on November 15.
He made a slow start to his autumn campaign in the Listed Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m) at Caulfield on February 28 and the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on March 28, but he finished ahead of the likes of Hartnell, Dominant and Protectionist to sneak into the placings at a massive quote of $150 in the Sydney Cup.
Like A Carousel was sent straight to the spelling paddock following his brave Sydney Cup effort, but Keys said that the son of Helike has now been back in work for over a month and is working nicely towards his return to racing.
“He is terrific,” Keys said.
“He had a good spell of six or seven weeks and he has been back in work about seven weeks.
“He is coming along beautifully.
“We know what he is and we know what he needs.”
Like A Carousel is currently available at 2015 Melbourne Cup odds of $67 with Ladbrokes, while Fame Game ($13) is a narrow favourite from Hartnell ($17) and Mongolian Khan ($17).