WINSLOW trainer Ciaron Maher’s dream of having a runner in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup rests with veteran stayer Moudre after the withdrawal of his other contender Mr O’Ceirin.
Moudre, 33 in the order of entry for the cup, needs to win tomorrow’s group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes at Flemington to earn a start in the $6.2 million race that stops the nation.
Maher, who also has stables at Caulfield, had been hopeful both Moudre and Mr O’Ceirin could win spots in the 24-horse Cup field.
But Mr O’Ceirin, 31 in the order of entry, pulled up sore after trackwork on Tuesday.
Mr O’Ceirin was to have run in the $1 million Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington tomorrow. “It’s always disappointing when something happens to a horse,” Maher said.
“It’s only a niggling problem with muscle soreness but we considered the welfare of the horse first and foremost.
“We’ll give him a good break and bring him back for races like the BMW in Sydney and the Brisbane Cup next year.
“He’s had a great campaign.
“He won the Naturalism Stakes and the Grafton Cup and ran a slashing run in the Caulfield Cup.”
Maher said Moudre had done well since his last-start third placing in the Geelong Cup.
“It was a good effort in the Geelong Cup,” he said.
“Horses had to be up front and one or two off the fence to win at Geelong.
“We were caught wide which was no fault of his jockey Craig Williams. I thought at the 400-metre mark we would win the Geelong Cup.
“We got to the 200-metre mark, we only plugged to the line but in hindsight it was a good run because we were in the heavier part of the track.
“There was a big difference in the going when you were out wide.”
Maher has booked Michelle Payne to ride Moudre tomorrow.
“Michelle has ridden Moudre in a lot of his work,’’ he said.
“She understands the horse very well.
“She is an under-rated jockey who will ride him well.
“I’m pleased the Lexus is the third race run for the day.
“There should still be a bit of give in the track, which suits him.”