A 2013 Melbourne Cup start for Ruscello is still undecided even though the English stayer won the qualifying Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington today.
Newmarket trainer Ed Walker said that he would have to discuss with the OTI Racing syndicate and the rest of the owners if they are to back up the five year old in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.
Walker’s initial reaction was not run Ruscello on Tuesday but was definitely not ruling it out.
“It’s a bit of a tough decision now, I might try and hide for a bit and think about it,” Walker said.
“To be honest with you it has to be no until the horse tells us yes. He is only four, he has just won the biggest race of his life and to ask him to run the next biggest race of his life three days later is a little bit unfair.”
“It he was a little bit older then maybe we would think about it. At this stage it would have to be pretty unlikely.”
Ruscello has jumped from equal forty-one on the Melbourne Cup order of entry and will be automatically included in the field after winning the Lexus, a ballot free race for the Cup and is now a $41 chance in from $151.
Walker had said before the Lexus Stakes that a win wouldn’t guarantee Ruscello a place on Tuesday but will be under enormous pressure to include him in the final field of twenty-four.
Walker was surprised to see Ruscello leading the field out of the straight the first time after instructing Kerrin McEvoy to take a sit and not get to the front too early.
McEvoy crossed to the front after jumping quickly from an outside gate and rated Ruscello ($11) perfectly to lead all of the way to hang on by a head from Let’s Make Adeal ($9.50) and Araldo ($4.20 favourite) who wrecked his chances when he hung in over the final stages.
“Kerrin did a magnificent job. I gave him two instructions, that was one get cover and two don’t get to the front too early,” Walker said.
“Lucky he didn’t listen to be, he’s done a great job.”
Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller will be sweating on Walker’s decision with his Melbourne Cup hope Kelinni now pushed to twenty-five in the order of entry if Ruscello runs while Peter Moody will also be interested as he has Ibicenco waiting in the wings at number twenty-six.