All set for a vintage edition of the Andrew Ramsden
We take a look at four highly rated chances in the 2023 Lexus Andrew Ramsden to be run at Flemington on Saturday.
Back-to-back heroics from the great Unchain My Heart in 2013 and 2014 fit in among many magical May moments at Flemington, and De Little Engine was a champion to many, but it would be fair and reasonable to say that wins from Sin To Win and a hurdles-bound Glorious Sinndar, didn't set the world on fire.
Three of the four winners since the changes in 2019 now count among three of the four highest rated winners this century.
2008 winner Gorky Park remains the standard bearer on that score with a Ramsden-winning Timeform rating of 115 but he is chased by Realm Of Flowers (Timeform 110), Steel Prince (110) and Point Nepean (109).
The 2023 edition is all set to add another to the pointy end of the pile with four rated 110 or better and a couple of those candidates to topple the 115-rated Gorky Park as the best Ramsden winner this century.
Hezashocka is currently rated 120, Vow And Declare 115, White Marlin 114, Lunar Flare 110 and we could bundle Third Realm into the list if we are still taking note of his form in the UK
Hezashocka has now run to 118 or higher in three of his past five starts; first going to that level at Flemington when outrunning odds of 80-1 to finish third in the Champion Stakes and confirming it when close up in the Queen Elizabeth II at Randwick over The Championships.
He was again around that level when staying 2400m well in the Mornington Cup, missing out on a ticket to the Caulfield Cup by the finest of margins, and now he looks for redemption in the form of an even bigger ticket in the Ramsden.
Mornington hinted that 2800m could be within Hezashocka’s range, but it is probably at the upper limit. If he is able to win a ticket to the 2023 Melbourne Cup he would head to Flemington on the first Tuesday in November as a stamina query.
That won’t be the case with his chief rival, and current race favourite, White Marlin who stayed 2800m powerfully on the first Tuesday of November 2022 and would surely have no issues going another 400m a year on if he can win his way there.
White Marlin raced to the top of betting for the 2023 Melbourne Cup when he returned with a dominant win in the Easter Cup at Sandown. He thrashed an in-form Right You Are before that one played spoiler to Hezashocka at Mornington.
Right You Are has three times beaten Vow And Declare, the other here with a master rating ahead of White Marlin, this preparation. The formline clearly illustrates White Marlin’s chance in the Ramsden.
Defeat at Pakenham in the lead-up was a bit of a stumble but the pace there was false and being outsprinted over 2000m doesn’t look hugely relevant to his chances up to a trip he clearly relishes and in a race that should prove a genuine test of stamina.
Vow and Declare
The 2019 Melbourne Cup winner has had a fabulous season and deserves mention here. His spring campaign steadily built to good runs in the Cups, Caulfield and Melbourne, and he got some hugely deserved reward for effort when winning the Zipping Classic.
He was not quite back at his 119-rated best from 2019 but ratings of 115 in spring have been backed up this campaign at Flemington and in the Tancred at Rosehill where he was beaten just over a length in fourth.
Fellow seven-year-old Lunar Flare is another Cup winner, hers the Moonee Valley version, and she too continues to race in great heart, as good as ever when running second in defence of her Cup at the Valley on Cox Plate Day after winning the Bart Cummings.
She missed the Melbourne Cup but has shown that she retains all of her ability with three good runs, strong in the finish as always, in the lead up to this target race.
Her continued good form says that she would be well worth what would be a long overdue place in the Melbourne Cup in 2023 were she to win a ticket in this vintage edition of the Andrew Ramsden.
The road to the Lexus Melbourne Cup continues on Saturday 13 May when The Listed Lexus Andrew Ramsden provides another opportunity to win a Golden Ticket into Australia's most famous thoroughbred race. Tickets selling fast, don't miss out!