Highly-rated imported stayer Sea Moon will have the opportunity to record his maiden race win in Australia when he contests the Listed The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Sea Moon was originally set to run in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) but Lloyd Williams made the decision to enter the Beat Hollow gelding for the easier race over a more appropriate staying distance and give him the chance to pass the ballot for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The five-year-old came to Australia under a heavy wrap, after a dominant victory in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2400m) during the 2012 Royal Ascot meeting, but has had no luck since making his Australian racing debut last month.
In the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) Sea Moon sprawled jumping out of the barriers and lost his footing on all four legs; ending his chances in the race although he battled on to finish 12th.
The talented entire managed to avoid serious injury and returned to the races a fortnight later in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) but managed to beat home just a single runner after the race was run at a farcically slow tempo that did not allow the backmarkers to make up ground in the final stages of the event.
The Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) was expected to be the next race start for Sea Moon but that now appears unlikely; with the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) a possible option if he is victorious at Flemington this weekend.
Sea Moon will be joined in The Bart Cummings by stablemate Tanby who is looking to become the second horse, after Light Vision in 2009, to win the race in back-to-back years.
Tanby has failed to fire since returning to the races this preparation, finishing 12th in the Listed Slickpix Stakes (1700m) and 10th in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m), but has previously produced strong performances at Flemington.
The Galileo gelding finished third behind Puissance De Lune in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at the home of the VRC during the 2012 Melbourne Cup Carnival and produced a career-best effort when he finished third behind Super Cool and Fiveandahalfstar in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) earlier this year.
The Macedon Lodge team is chasing their third straight victory in The Bart Cummings; with Mourayan winning the 2011 edition of the race before Tanby’s success last year.