The Charlie Appleby trained Oceanographer will be looking to force his way in to the Melbourne Cup after sitting precariously outside the field limit of 24. The Godolphin owned 5YO made his first appearance in Australia in the Geelong Cup. Starting favourite in that race he finished strongly running in to 3 rd place behind his stable-mate Qewy. The international was the winner of a 2100m race at Doncaster 3 starts back when carrying 63.5kg. He carries the same weight as his Geelong Cup run, the Appleby trained horses have been racing well since arriving in Australia and Kerrin McEvoy won this race in 2000 with Brew on the way to completing the double into the Melbourne Cup.
Another using this race in attempting to gain a Melbourne Cup start, the Lee & Anthony Freedman trained 6YO has started once at Flemington, with that result a winning performance in a benchmark 90 handicap carrying 54kg. Glen Boss rode the gelding that day and takes the ride here with 54.5kg. The only time he has been tried at further than 2100m was in the Listed Mornington Cup where he was a beaten odd-on favourite. His last start effort in the G3 Coongy was a good run where he led the field and was only beaten in the last 20m, finishing a half-length 2nd .
The Darren Weir trained mare had been well supported heading into the Caulfield Cup and despite running a good race was no match for the winner Jameka. Leading in to that race, Real Love was successful in the G3 JRA Cup at Moonee Valley over 2040m, returning a dominant performance and winning by three lengths. Her first start this campaign was in the 1600m G2 Dato Tan Chin Nam when finishing 2 nd to Awesome Rock over. The weight is a concern as she rises from the 52.5kg of the Caulfield Cup to 58.5kg, however she did carry 58kg when winning the JRA Cup.
The John O’Shea trained 4YO has had a mixed preparation from his four starts this campaign, with two placings in between two disappointing efforts. Last start in the Caulfield Cup he faded out while first-up in the G1 Memsie over 1400m he settled near the rear and never was in the contest. Dropped back in to a 1700m handicap at Flemington and carrying 58kg he returned a much sharper effort to grab 2 nd . 3 rd up in the G1 Turnbull Stakes he finished 3 rd , beaten only by the dominating Hartnell and subsequent Caulfield Cup winner Jameka. O’Shea is altering his gear looking for improvement.
Historically the Lexus Stakes has been a traditional lead up to the Melbourne Cup just three days later. The winner is exempt from any ballot for the Cup and this race is often used for one last throw of the dice to make the ‘great race’ the following Tuesday.
In 2009, Shocking posted an impressive win in the Lexus before taking out the Cup, while a year later Maluckyday missed the ‘distance double’ after finishing second to overseas raider Americain in the Melbourne Cup. Bart Cummings’ Kingston Rule was runner up in the Lexus in 1990, before taking out the Melbourne Cup.
Held under quality handicap conditions, the Group 3 Lexus Stakes is run over 2500m on VRC Derby Day. In 2016 the field has a weight minimum of 54kg and the top-weighted runner carried 59kg.
The race has featured in various name changes over the years and has been known as the Hotham Handicap, the Dalgety and the Saab Quality. The race race also holds a place in the history books as the 1956 edition of the race when known as the Hotham Handicap resulted in the triple dead-heat between Fighting Force, Ark Royal and Pandie Sun.
Total prizemoney on offer in 2017 is $250,000. The 2016 winner was the Charlie Appleby trained Oceanographer, ridden by Kerrin McEvoy. Other winners of the race include Excess Knowledge, Signoff, Shocking, Maluckyday, Brew and the dual winner Chagemar.
|2016||OCEANOGRAPHER||KERRIN MCEVOY||CHARLIE APPLEBY||02:35.6|
|2015||EXCESS KNOWLEDGE||DWAYNE DUNN||GAI WATERHOUSE||02:36.8|
|2014||SIGNOFF||JOAO MOREIRA||DARREN WEIR||02.37.8|
|2013||RUSCELLO||KERRIN MCEVOY||ED WALKER||02.39.8|
|2012||KELINNI||NASH RAWILLER||CHRIS WALLER||02.37.6|
|2011||NIWOT||DEAN YENDALL||JOHN HAWKES||02.37.5|
|2010||MALUCKYDAY||JIM CASSIDY||JOHN HAWKES||02.35.1|
|2009||SHOCKING||MICHAEL RODD||MARK KAVANAGH||02.38.3|
|2008||MOATIZE||MICHAEL RODD||BART CUMMINGS||02.37.7|
|2007||SCULPTOR||LISA CROPP||PETER MCKENZIE||02.35.4|