Ebor Handicap trifecta entered for Lexus Melbourne Cup
Europe's richest handicap, the £500,000 Ebor Handicap, may once again prove a pivotal guide to this year's $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup after winner Trawlerman, runner-up Alfred Boucher and third Earl Of Tyrone were all late entries for the race that stops the nation™ on Monday.
The trio have taken advantage of a new provision, first offered last year, which gives the winners and placegetters of four key international races - the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes (2400m), the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3270m) and the Ebor Handicap (2816m) at York and the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) at Deauville - the option of being a late entry for the Group 1 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at a fee of AUD$1,000.
Great Voltigeur winner Deauville Legend and third El Bodegon, both trained by James Ferguson, were already among entries when they officially closed on Tuesday, 2 August.
The John and Thady Gosden-trained Trawlerman was the beneficiary of a Frankie Dettori masterclass in the Ebor Handicap, producing a superior staying performance to hold off the Ian Williams-prepared Alfred Boucher - already a Ebor Festival winner over two miles earlier in the week - by a short head. The well-supported Earl Of Tyrone, a Limerick Listed winner in June for trainer Paddy Twomey, faded late to finish a length away in third.
"The Ebor Handicap is one of the world's great staying races and there is a natural synergy between it and the Lexus Melbourne Cup," said the Victoria Racing Club's Executive General Manager Racing Leigh Jordon, who was trackside at York on Saturday. "Ever since we first welcomed internationals to Flemington in 1993, the Ebor Handicap has become a crucial lead-up to the Lexus Melbourne Cup and it looks as though that will be the case again in 2022.
"It has been 30 years since Quick Ransom won the Ebor and he would go on to run in two Melbourne Cups, including finishing fourth to Doriemus in 1995. It is only fitting that we mark three decades of the link between York and Flemington by welcoming these late entries from John and Thady, Ian and Paddy and we cannot wait to see them on the first Tuesday in November."
John Gosden has brought an Ebor Handicap winner to Australia before, finishing ninth in the 2018 Lexus Melbourne Cup with Muntahaa. That was his second Cup runner, having previously finished 12th with Gatewood in 2014. He now trains in partnership with son Thady.
Williams, too, has been a Lexus Melbourne Cup visitor in the past with Munsef 12th in 2009 and Magic Circle 16th in 2018.
Twomey would be a first-time traveller to Australia but has quickly established himself as a leading Irish horseman over the past decade.
No horse has completed the Ebor Handicap and Lexus Melbourne Cup double but Ebor Handicap winners Quick Ransom (fourth), Give The Slip (second), Purple Moon (second), Willing Foe (fifth), Heartbreak City (fourth) and Nakeeta (fifth) have all performed well at Flemington while 1999 Ebor runner-up Travelmate is the best performed placegetter in the Cup, finishing fifth to Rogan Josh.
Great Voltigeur Stakes runner-up Secret State, Lonsdale Cup trifecta Quickthorn, Coltrane and Reshoun and Prix Kergorlay plaegetters Goya Senora, Joie De Soir and Skazino can still enter by 12pm AEST Wednesday, 24 August.
Image caption: Ebor Handicap winner Trawlerman (white cap), runner-up Alfred Boucher (black and yellow cap) and third Earl Of Tyrone (gold cap) have all been entered for the Lexus Melbourne Cup.