Cup doors open for Geelong-bred Runaway
GEELONG Cup winner Runaway is closer to a Melbourne Cup start after further attrition from Saturday's Cox Plate meeting.
Egg Tart and Big Duke are both set to pull out of the Cup, while Tosen Basil and Red Cardinal are also unlikely after all four performed poorly in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup.
Humidor will also head to the Mackinnon Stakes on Saturday week instead of the Melbourne Cup, which would see Runaway move from 28th to 23rd in the order of entry when the second declarations are paid up at 10am today.
While that will likely see the four-year-old son of Manhattan Rain gain a start in the field of 24, owner-breeder Anthony Mithen said connections would pay up and likely accept for the exempt Hotham Handicap on Saturday to keep their options open.
"It looks like all the machinations have us about 23rd, which leaves us sitting confident but not yet a certainty because there's still the Lexus (Hotham Handicap) winner to jump above us and if Gai's three-year-old colt (Thinkin' Big) won the Derby, they've always said they'd consider going to the Melbourne Cup," Mithen said.
"Twenty-third might become 25th, so we're not leaping in the air just yet. We'll nominate for the Lexus and probably accept to make sure if we have to, but the preference is if we're in, we'll reserve him for Tuesday."
Duretto (19th), who ran fourth in the Caulfield Cup, is also in doubt for the Melbourne Cup after injuring a leg while galloping at Werribee on Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, Rosemont Stud is set to have another Group 1 contender in Melbourne Cup week after Iconoclasm stamped himself as a challenger to stablemate Land Of Plenty in Saturday's $1 million Kennedy Mile.
The four-year-old son of Toorak Toff burnt the candle at both ends for a dominant win of the $150,000 VOBIS Gold Star at Moonee Valley on Friday night and Mithen said the stallion prospect deserved his place at the elite level.
"He's really put his hand up the last couple of starts to say he's a genuine Group class sort of horse, so fingers crossed he can prove it on Saturday," he said.
"Without sounding smart about it, he went there really as a gallop for Flemington this Saturday.
"He would have only had one start in eight weeks if he had gone straight into the Kennedy Mile, so he (trainer Darren Weir) thought what better way to stretch his legs than in a rich VOBIS Gold race with all the prizemoney associated.
"It was a good blowout for him and he was made to race, which was good for him."