Fifteen of the twenty-four nominations for the Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday need to win to gain a spot in the final field for the Melbourne Cup next Tuesday.
The winner of the Lexus Stakes is exempt from the ballot for the Melbourne Cup and Geelong Cup winner Caravan Rolls On is one of those fringe dwellers who need to win to gain a start in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
Caravan Rolls On is number twenty-eight in the Melbourne Cup order of entry even after receiving a 1.5kgs penalty for winning the Group 3 $300,000 Sportingbet Powerd By William Hill Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong on October 22.
Trainer Danny O’Brien is certain that Caravan Rolls On will handle the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup and expecst vast improvement by the time the first Tuesday in November rolls around.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have him. We’ve had him for better part of a year now and it’s been a long plan to get him to a Melbourne Cup,,” O’Brien said after winning the Geelong Cup.
“Fortunately he got the job done, it was only his third start in a year.”
“There is a hell of a lot of improvement to come and hopefully he gets into the Melbourne Cup.”
“He is a genuine two miler. We had to keep him very fresh today for the 2400m.”
“At two miles he will improve two or three lengths.”
Other stayers who need to win the Lexus Stakes to gain a start in the Race That Stops The Nation are Araldo, Amralah, Big Memory, La Amistad, Let’s Make Adeal, Like A Carousel, Lord Van Percy, Marksmanship, Mr O’Ceirin, Shoreman, Signoff, Thunderbird One, Unchain My Heart and Wish Come True.
Of the remainder of the nominations Green Moon, Sea Moon and Lidari are already in the final twenty-four, although Lidari at twenty-three in the order for entry could be pushed out if both the winners of the Lexus Stakes and the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m), also Flemington on Saturday, are below him in the entry order.
Trainer Peter Moody could have three Melbourne Cup runners if Italian import Wish Come True can cause a surprise upset in the Lexus Stakes.
As well as Lidari, Moody has also qualified Brambles for the Melbourne Cup.
Trainer Tony McEvoy is in the same situation with Big Memory who is number twenty-nine in the order of entry and put in his claims for a Melbourne Cup start when he won the Group 2 $200,000 Sportingbet Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 11.