Peter Moody-trained Brambles will follow a traditional path to the 2014 Melbourne Cup and run in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
The Mackinnon Stakes was once considered a key lead-up race to the Melbourne Cup, but in recent years the majority of trainers with Melbourne Cup runners have opted against running their horses on Victoria Derby Day.
OTI Racing are set to have four runners in the 2014 Melbourne Cup field, while Lord Van Percy can also work his way into the race by winning the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) on Saturday, and Brambles is set to be their only representative in the Mackinnon Stakes.
Brambles was far from disgraced when he finished a solid fourth behind Admire Rakti in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18 and OTI co-owner Terry Henderson told Racing Ahead that he believes a start in the Mackinnon Stakes will top the Savabeel gelding off nicely for his maiden race start over 3200 metres in the Melbourne Cup.
“It is a great story given his recovery from a tendon injury that kept him off the track for two years,” Henderson said.
“It is a remarkable effort by Pete and Lee Everson to get this horse back to where he is.
“We are excited about him and I think that he would have run a lot better in the Caulfield Cup had he been allowed to just stride, but the Mackinnon will just take the edge off him a little bit and set him up for Tuesday.”
The nominations for the Mackinnon Stakes were released yesterday and the race is set to draw its strongest field in recent history after 24 horses were included in the nominations.
Brambles could be joined in the Mackinnon Stakes field by fellow Melbourne Cup hopefuls Green Moon, Junoob, Who Shot Thebarman, Big Memory, Let’s Make Adeal and Amralah, while Rising Romance is set to contest the race after finishing second in the Caulfield Cup.
The strongest form line heading into the Mackinnon Stakes is set to be the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and last year’s winner Side Glance, the luckless Criterion, veteran gelding Happy Trails and Chris Waller-trained Foreteller are all a chance of backing up in the $1 million race this weekend.
Viewed in 2008 was the last horse to win the Melbourne Cup after running in the Mackinnon Stakes on Saturday, while no horse has completed the Mackinnon Stakes/Melbourne Cup double since Rogan Josh in 1999.
Brambles is currently available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $26 and is priced at a quote of $11 to take out the Mackinnon Stakes on Saturday.