THE highly-rated Warrnambool galloper, Moudre, yesterday took a massive step forward in his bid to run in this year’s $6.2 million Melbourne Cup when he was given 53 kilograms for the race.
Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter listed the Ciaron Maher-trained Moudre 37th in the weights but he is 38th in the elimination order for the 3200-metre race that stops the nation.
“There’s no guarantees but he is well placed at this stage to get a start in the Melbourne Cup,” Carpenter said.
“He’s passed the ballot, which stands him in good stead. Having 53kg is also a big bonus.
“Normally having the 53kg means he would get a start in the Cup, but there’s still a bit of water to go under the bridge over the next few weeks.
“There is usually a big attrition rate of horses in the race. Horses have to win a group or listed race over the next few weeks to leap over Moudre.”
Maher, who has stables at Winslow and Caulfield, said he was pleased with the seven-year-old’s weight.
“I’m rapt he’s got 53kg,” he said.
“I thought he might have got 52.5kg and been on the border to get a run. The 53kg is better for us. It just gets us away from the bulk of horses which are entered.
“Moudre’s win in the 2010 Queen Elizabeth Stakes and his third placing in the Makybe Diva Stakes a couple of weeks ago has helped his rating.”
The former jumps jockey said Moudre would have his next start in the group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes over 2000 metres at Flemington on October 6.
“Moudre pulled up well after his run in the Makybe Diva,” Maher said.
“I reckon he’s a weight-for-age horse and the Turnbull Stakes fits into his campaign towards the Melbourne Cup.
“We would love to get Moudre into the Caulfield Cup field but he’s down in the ballot. It would be a bonus if he could win the Turnbull. It opens up a few more doors for us.”
Maher has also entered Mr O’Ceirin, Jeroboam, Simple Arriba and Dubosc in the Melbourne Cup. They have all been handicapped at 50kg.
The Grand Annual Steeplechase-winning trainer is trying to lift Mr O’Ceirin’s chances of a start in the Caulfield and Melbourne cups by entering the five-year-old in the group 3 $150,000 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield and the $175,000 group 2 Hill Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill, both on Saturday.
Maher said the horse could struggle to get a run in the Naturalism Stakes.
He said top jockey Glen Boss would ride him if he did.
“I’ll probably get Kerrin McEvoy to ride him if he has to go to Rosehill,”he said.
“We’ll know more at lunchtime on Wednesday which path we go down with him. He’s got to win a good race to get a penalty into the Caulfield and Melbourne cups”.
Other horses with links to the Western District entered in the Melbourne Cup are Shewan, which is part-owned by long-serving Warrnambool Racing Club committeeman Bill Phillpot; Exceptionally, which is part-owned by Macarthur businessman Kingsley Peach; and the Jarrod McLean-trained Le Baron.