The James Cumming trained Ruling Dynasty is one win away from gaining a start in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington next Tuesday.
The winner of the Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday is exempt from the ballot for the Melbourne Cup three days later and Ruling Dynasty is on the second line of betting at $6 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Cummings would love to have a runner in Australia’s most famous race and keep the tradition going that his legendary grandfather, Bart Cummings, established with twelve Melbourne Cup winners over his illustrious trained career.
Ruling Dynasty is currently thirty-four in the order of entry for the Melbourne Cup and needs to win the Lexus Stakes to gain a spot in the two miler.
The Medaglia D’Oro four year old comes to Melbourne on the back of a win over Lexus Stakes topweight Junoob in the Listed $100,000 City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at Randwick on October 17.
Cummings is running a form line through the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick during the Sydney Autumn Carnival earlier in the year when Ruling Dynasty was beaten less than four lengths by subsequent Caulfield Cup winner Mongolian Khan.
The Murray Baker trained Mongolian Khan had been highly fancied in the Melbourne Cup after his win in the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 17 but unfortunately the Kiwi stayer had to be scratched from next Tuesday contest after developing a bout of colic today.
“It’s important to reflect the horse has had three starts plus 2000m – he’s won two out of three, and the start he was defeated was in the Derby,” Cummings told Racing.com’s Racing Ahead on RSN.
“He was outclassed by Mongolian Khan and Hauraki no doubt, but consider that he didn’t have the ideal preparation – he had foot pain days out from the race.
“I think Mongolian Khan is well and truly the benchmark, and it’s nice to know we have some form through him coming into this week.”
Cummings is defending the narrow winning margin of Ruling Dynasty in the City Tattersalls Club Cup when he only had a head to spare over Junoob in a blanket finish.
“I think the race in general was relatively slowly run, as indicative of the beaten margins in the end,” Cummings said.
“It was nearly a blanket finish for six to seven horses there.
“Compare that to the Moonee Valley Gold Cup at the weekend, which was run ragged from start to finish and the beaten margins are four lengths back to third.
“From that perspective, I think it was a good qualifying run for him because it wasn’t a gut buster.”
Tommy Berry is back aboard Ruling Dynasty and should get the run of the race from the inside rails draw.
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Cummings will also saddle up $26 outsider High Midnight who has a lot of ground to make up after finishing seventh to Stratum Star in the Group 3 $150,000 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 17.
“The horse is similar to Ruling Dynasty in that it might be all too soon, because they’re both only in their second preparation – these later maturing, progressive stayers,” Cummings said.
“But he’s had one attempt in a staying test, whilst a very well-credentialed middle-distance horse, the horse has had one attempt in the Derby and failed in the Derby.”
Lexus Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5 Havana Cooler, $6 Excess Knowledge , Ruling Dynasty, $7.50 Elhaame, $9.50 Bohemian Lily, $10 Zanteca, $11 Chance To Dance, $13 Hawkspur, $15 Junoob, $16 Thunder Lady, $26 High Midnight, $31 Manalapan, $34 Ethiopia.
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