Impressive south-west mare on song for $1m Emirates Stakes

TWO horses with contrasting build-ups will carry the hopes of a south-west victory on the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington.

The Aaron Purcell-trained Spirit Song enters today’s feature $1 million Emirates Stakes in career-best form. 

And the Ciaron Maher-trained Moudre, which missed out on a Melbourne Cup run by one place in the order of entry, is lining up for his first run since the Caulfield Cup as he chases his second win in three years in the $250,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Purcell’s five-year-old mare finished third despite lumping the big impost of 59kg in a group 3 mares’ race over 1600 metres at her last start at Moonee Valley on October 27.

That run grabbed the attention of star jockey Craig Williams, who pursued Purcell for today’s ride. 

Spirit Song drops back to 54.5 kilograms for the race and Purcell said the mare was in good form.

“She’s gone on well since her last run but she’s facing the toughest task of her career,” he said. 

“It’s a top-class field — we’ve got our fingers crossed that she will be competitive at this level.”

Moudre has endured a frustrating spring campaign, from niggling injuries to agonisingly missing a start in Tuesday’s $6.2 million Melbourne Cup.

Maher has engaged top heavyweight jockey Steven Arnold to ride Moudre in the 2600-metre race, which he previously won in 2010.

“We were disappointed we never got a run in the Melbourne Cup but we’ve moved on from that now,” Maher said. 

“It’s a very good field with a couple of international horses, it’s made for an interesting race. We’re expecting him to run well.”

Purcell will also saddle up outsider Streaky Fella in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Promising Warrnambool galloper Gold Medals will make his metropolitan debut for Bill and Symon Wilde in the $150,000 Hilton Hotels Stakes over 1400 metres. 

Gold Medals won at his debut at Warrnambool in April. 

The three-year-old returned to the track at Stawell on November 2 when he ran second in an 1100-metre race.

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